California’s Environmental Goals May Jeopardize Trucking

by | Nov 21, 2022 | Environmental Law, Trucking and Transportation

Last Wednesday the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced extensive plans to dramatically reduce the state’s reliance upon fossil fuels to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2045. CARB’s 2022 Scoping Plan outlines what is arguably the most ambitious agenda for achieving net zero that any jurisdiction in the world has ever adopted. Another new proposal currently under consideration by state lawmakers seeks to achieve further environmental protections by stopping diesel fuel vehicles from operating in the state. Both moves will require trucking companies to undergo substantial changes to achieve compliance.

What is the Timeline for Trucking Companies?

The proposal will end the sale of diesel power trucks by the year 2040 and force any medium to heavy-duty trucks operating in California to be “zero emission” by 2035 while some larger companies will have until 2042 to transition their fleets. The proposed rule will have far-ranging effects on trucking companies across the country. To meet these goals, trucking companies need to act fast and overcome significant financial challenges.

Are There Alternatives?

At this point, the regulations are only proposed. The first of two public California Air Resources Board (CARB) hearings to consider proposed advanced clean fleets regulation took place on October 27th to decide if the changes should take effect. Another hearing is imminent, and critics have raised some valid objections:

  • California doesn’t currently have the infrastructure in place to support these changes.
  • To accomplish these ambitious goals the state must invest heavily in upgrading the electrical grid.
  • Company leaders worried about achieving compliance and incurring the related costs may choose to move their businesses – and tax dollars – to other states with more relaxed environmental policies.

These are real concerns that CARB, California citizens, and state legislators will have to consider before the decision is finalized.