The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given California the greenlight to implement regulations that require half of all new heavy-duty vehicles to be electric by 2035.
On Friday, March 31, the EPA granted California’s two requests for waivers of preemption. Specifically, the state is allowed to enforce California Air Resource Board regulations that will require half of all new heavy-duty vehicles sales to be electric.
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 2035. By 2035, zero-emission truck/chassis sales would need to be 55% of Class 2b-3 truck sales, 75% of Class 4-8 straight truck sales, and 40% of truck tractor sales.
California is the only state allowed to adopt emissions requirements that are stricter than federal regulations. Poised the have the fourth largest economy in the world, regulations set by California may have a trickledown effect as manufacturers scramble to compete in the state.
Several states have adopted California’s standards, but those states have been waiting on the federal government to grant California’s waivers.
However, trucking industry stakeholders argue that California is moving too fast.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long argued that truckers also want a cleaner environment, but that the technology must be reliable and cost-effective.
“This is another example of California approving onerous regulations that increase operating costs for truckers within the state” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA director of federal affairs. “Whether its CARB emissions requirements or misguided legislation like AB5, it’s no surprise we’re seeing small-business truckers and independent contractors looking for opportunities elsewhere. Vehicle reliability and affordability are top priorities for OOIDA members. We have yet to see proof that electric CMVs are a realistic option for most trucking businesses considering the price tag and lack of charging infrastructure.”
Last May, The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association filed a lawsuit, saying that Congress specified in the Clean Air Act that “heavy-duty on-highway engine and vehicle manufacturers must be provided at least four full model years of lead time before new emission standards become effective.” However, the association dropped the lawsuit in August. LL