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This week, California authorities will consider a new rule intended to “accelerate” the adoption of zero-emission trucks.

On June 25, 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct the second of two public hearings on the proposed “Advanced Clean Trucks” (ACT) regulation that would enact sweeping changes to force truckers to make the move away from diesel-powered trucks. A final vote is expected to take place on June 25 or 26.

According to CARB, “the proposed Advanced Clean Truck Regulation is part of a holistic approach to accelerate a large-scale transition of zero-emission medium-and heavy-duty vehicles from Class 2B to Class 8 … When compared to diesel vehicles, [zero-emisson vehicles] are two to five times more energy efficient, reduce dependence on petroleum, and reduce GHG emissions substantially.”

The proposed regulation consists of a manufacturer sales requirement and a reporting requirement, according to a CARB fact sheet:

  • Zero-emission truck sales: Manufacturers who certify Class 2B-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines would be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2030. By 2030, zero-emission truck/chassis sales would need to be 50% of class 4 – 8 straight trucks sales and 15% of all other truck sales.  
  • Company and fleet reporting: Large employers including retailers, manufacturers, brokers and others would be required to report information about shipments and shuttle services. Fleet owners, with 100 or more trucks, would be required to report about their existing fleet operations. This information would help identify future strategies to ensure that fleets purchase available zero-emission trucks and place them in service where suitable to meet their needs.

The ACT proposal has been criticized by the trucking industry because of the cost, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Though CARB admits that zero-emission trucks are more expensive up front, the agency says that “the total cost of ownership in California can be comparable to conventional trucks for certain duty cycles without grants or rebates.” CARB also points to rebates and incentives like the Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project to help truck owners mitigate costs.

CARB released an updated version of the ACT regulation proposal on April 25, 2020 that is stricter than the original version that debuted in 2019 after community and environmental activists complained.

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