California Bans Big Diesel Trucks in Favor of Climate Change & Public Health

Starting in 2036, the sale of big diesel trucks will be banned in California. Based on the Advanced Clean Fleets rule which was just passed in the state, heavy diesel trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles must convert to electric or hydrogen to be sold or operated in the state starting from the cut-off year.

The California Air Resources Board stated that the new rule will require all big trucks to emit zero carbon by 2042. It will enable the state to achieve carbon neutrality to fight climate change and promote public health in situations where nitrogen oxide emitted by heavy trucks endangers people’s health.

Pursuant to this, big trucks used for garbage collection and service delivery will be phased out if they continue to run on diesel. Breathable air will be cleaner and the state will save up to $26.5 billion – money that could have gone to hospitalization and death benefits in cases of air pollution.

The air resources board said one-third of the nitrogen oxide and fine particle pollution from diesel fuel is produced by heavy-duty trucks on the road. And that 10% of the vehicles on California roads are heavy trucks that emit 25% of the greenhouse gas in the state. Activists said the new Advanced Clean Fleets rule would improve public health and make the state safer for all.

“Frontline communities across California who breathe in deadly diesel pollution every day can finally get some relief with the Advanced Clean Fleets rule,” said Andrea Vidaurre, senior policy analyst for the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice. “There is no acceptable level of exposure to deadly diesel pollution — so it has got to go, for the sake of our health and our lungs.”

The American Trucking Associations have kicked against the development, saying it is unacceptable and unrealistic. The associations and other lobbying group said it is very costly to convert large trucks using diesel to electric vehicles, and that the infrastructure for charging electric trucks are not yet in place in the state.

“As it becomes clear that California’s rhetoric is not being matched by technology, we hope the Board will reverse course and allow trucking companies the freedom to choose the clean technologies that work best for their operations,” the group said in a statement.

Although Gov. Gavin Newsom boasted with confidence that the development means “we’re one step closer to achieving healthier neighborhoods and cleaner air for all Californians,” and that it would be an opportunity for California to show “the world what real climate action looks like,” the rule requires the approval of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be implemented.

If the rule is endorsed by EPA and implemented in California, it is obvious that other US states will follow suit. As it stands, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Colorado have already adopted California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule.