CA Takes a Step Forward with New Clean Truck Proposal

Electric FedEx delivery truck recharging.

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The California Air Resources Board released its updated Advanced Clean Truck Rule proposal today—a major new regulation to slash toxic air pollution from fossil fuel-burning trucks while boosting a vital clean technology industry within the state.

The Advanced Clean Truck Rule cuts pollution by requiring medium- and heavy-duty truck makers to sell an increasing number of clean, electric trucks in California in place of dirty diesel and gasoline vehicles. This is critical for California, which suffers from the most polluted air in the nation and transportation being the single largest source of poor air quality and the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

The updated proposal is a positive change from the previous version—which you can read about here—and clearly shows that staff at the California Air Resources Board are listening to the experts instead of special interests. The updated rule would roughly double the original proposal's electric truck sales requirements, which means more electric trucks—and cleaner air—sooner.

But most important are the improved health benefits. The new proposal cuts toxic air pollution substantially, increasing statewide health benefits by an estimated $3.2 billion to $8.9 billion from 2020 to 2040. The potential climate benefits of reducing more greenhouse gas emissions also increased by nearly $1 billion to reach $1.7 billion by 2040.

Not only that, but the new proposal is expected to create 8,000 new jobs by 2040, adding to the thousands of electric vehicle industry jobs that already exist in California. What's more, these are good, family-sustaining jobs. In 2018, they paid 30 percent more than the state's average income.

A Strong Market Signal

The rule starts in 2024, at which point we’ll begin seeing zero-emission trucks replacing dirty diesels. By 2030, nearly one in three new tractor-trailers will have zero pollution coming out, so you can comfortably roll down your window when you’re stuck behind a Walmart truck.

Electric pick-up trucks used by many contractors and delivery vans will also phase in starting in 2024. Small and large businesses alike will begin to see more clean options that are cheaper to own and operate. Neighborhoods will breathe better—and be quieter—since electric trucks don’t pollute and have quiet motors instead of loud engines.

The updated proposal extends the rule out to 2035. By setting targets that far into the future, the rule can reach much higher sales requirements. It also sends a clear market signal to industry so that they can plan and make investments with increased certainty.

Updated Sales Percentage Requirements Compared to Previous Proposal

Figures in red are old requirements. Updated proposal extends the rule through 2035.

Source: California Air Resources Board, Updated Proposal

Ruling the Moment

The Advanced Clean Truck Rule is exactly what’s needed right now. As California works to protect its citizens and jump-start its economy, science-based regulations that provide measurable health, environmental, and economic benefits are more crucial than ever. And the California Air Resources Board has repeatedly shown that regulations to protect the air not only safeguard public health and the environment but are vital drivers of economic growth. The clean technology sector, anchored by strong regulations, is one of California’s most critical industries that supports over half a million jobs statewide.

Clean technologies, such as electric vehicles, are a top state export and a valuable source of innovation. On top of that, this rule will go a long way to helping the state meet its climate and air quality goals as the standards continue ramping up past 2030. With this new proposal, the California Air Resources Board is doing its part to make sure California emerges from this crisis a more resilient society that grows jobs, safeguards public health, and protects the climate and air we breathe.

About the Authors

Patricio Portillo

Transportation Analyst, Climate & Clean Energy Program
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