The California Air Resources Board (CARB) on June 25, 2020, unanimously approved the “Advanced Clean Trucks” rule, requiring automakers to sell a minimum number of zero-emissions diesel trucks, delivery vans and large pickups, starting in 2024. The quotas will be phased in and the rules require most new trucks in the state to produce no pollution at all by 2035. By 2045, every new truck sold in California will have to be zero-emission.

The rule applies to trucks that weigh more than 8,500 pounds, from heavy-duty pickups and full-size vans to box trucks and tractor-trailers. The sales requirements and related starting dates vary based on the type of vehicle. Large employers, including retailers, manufacturers, brokers and others, also would be required to report information about shipments and shuttle services.

Reasons implementing the rule include short-term desires to reduce diesel exhaust emissions in neighborhoods close to heavy truck use (including ports) as well as desires to reduce carbon dioxide emissions relative to long-term global warming / climate change policies.  However, many stakeholders in the trucking industry are concerned the transition will not be nearly as easy and beneficial as CARB suggests. Critics cite the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy as a substantial financial obstacle to manufacturing the new, cleaner trucks, which will also have a high price tag. They also are concerned that the infrastructure and technology, including charging stations and batteries, are inadequate for the roll-out of such a large amount of zero-emissions vehicles.

One thing is certain: The rule will require California businesses to make long-term business investment decisions regarding the movement of goods. Capital expenditures will now have to factor in potentially higher outlays for vehicles and re-charging infrastructure. Depending upon whether shipments are local or long-distance, planning also may be required for off-site recharging, as well as accounting for additional down time during re-charging operations.

The rule and all other regulatory documents and resources are available online here.