California Approves New Standard to Speed Adoption of Electric Trucks

Statement by Sam Wilson, senior vehicles analyst in the Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Apr 28, 2023

SACRAMENTO (April 28, 2023)—The California Air Resources Board today unanimously approved the world’s first standard to require large fleets to transition away from fossil-fueled commercial trucks, delivery vans, and buses to zero-emission vehicles that will improve the state’s air quality and help tackle the climate crisis.

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The Advanced Clean Fleets rule requires that all new trucks and buses sold in the state be zero-emission by 2036 and that large companies switch over their fossil-fueled medium- and heavy-duty trucks to vehicles free of tailpipe emissions by 2042.

Below is a statement by Sam Wilson: 

“We need this standard to accelerate the necessary phase-out of fossil-fueled trucks that are fouling our air, choking vulnerable communities located near freeways, marine ports and railyards, and contributing to climate change. Putting cleaner trucks on California roads will not only improve public health but will decrease fuel and maintenance costs for truck fleets.

“There are more than 1.8 million commercial trucks on California roads and, although they make up just 7 percent of vehicles, they are responsible for more than one-quarter of climate-warming gas emissions and a majority of the toxic pollutants harming our air and our health from on-road transportation sources.

“Electric truck technology is available today and, thanks to previous policies adopted by California regulators, manufacturers are rolling out an increasing number of zero-emission trucks. When combined with federal and state investments in the deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, this new truck standard will speed the shift to a cleaner and more efficient freight system.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom and Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph have shown great leadership in addressing California’s serious air quality problems and moving the state toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045 by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

“While the Advanced Clean Fleets standard represents a massive step in the right direction, the California Air Resources Board should consider future action focusing on the smaller fleets that operate thousands of the most polluting big rigs on the state’s roads to provide relief to communities near inland warehouses and logistics facilities.”