The California Air Resources Board will vote, perhaps in October, on banning new diesel trucks of all types by 2040, putting Washington state on the same path.

The board will have a public hearing Oct. 27 in Sacramento. Washington law requires the state to do whatever the 14-member California board does regarding vehicle emissions.

The Washington trucking industry will work with the American Trucking Associations to submit comments to California regulators, Washington Trucking Associations President and CEO Shari Call said Monday.

“It doesn’t seem like a very realistic plan,” she said. “We’re gravely concerned about it.”

The California board on Aug. 25 unanimously voted to ban new gas- and diesel-powered vehicles that weigh less than 8,500 pounds beginning with 2035 models.

Less than a week later, the board’s staff released a report justifying banning all trucks and vans over 8,500 pounds.

“It would be the next significant step in accelerating towards a zero-emission transportation system as well as a more equitable future in California,” according to the staff report.

If the board adopts the rule, it will seek a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency to implement a stricter emissions standard than the federal standard, according to the staff report.

States can either follow the federal standard or California’s standard. Congress allowed California to have its own standard because the state was trying to control smog before the Clean Air Act.

Washington lawmakers – concerned about climate change – in 2020 committed the state to automatically adopting standards passed in California and approved by the EPA.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee celebrated the vote to ban new gas- and diesel-powered cars, pickups and SUV. The Department of Ecology plans to adopt the ban before the end of the year.

Inslee spokesman Mike Faulk said in an email that the governor’s office will watch the California process and see whether the regulation needs a waiver from the EPA.

The governor supports the intentions of the proposed requirements for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, Faulk said.

According to California’s proposal, government agencies and trucking companies would be required to phase in electric vehicles well before 2040.

State and local government agencies would have to buy only zero-emission vehicles beginning in 2027. Drayage trucks that carry cargo in ports and rail yards would have to be zero-emission by 2035.

Beginning in 2024, companies with 50 or more trucks could only add zero-emission trucks. Diesel trucks would have to be retired after 18 years of service or 800,000 miles, whichever came first.

The law will cut California’s greenhouse gases by 24.27 million metric tons in 2050, the staff report estimates.

The California Energy Commission estimates that 157,000 charging stations will be needed by 2030 to electrify heavy-duty trucks.

On hot days, truckers may opt to recharge their trucks outside peak-demand hours of 4 to 9 p.m. to avoid overtaxing the electric grid, according to the California board’s staff.

The trucking industry supports a zero-emissions future, Call said. “Whether we’re being realistic about it, is another question,” she said.

The law will cut California’s greenhouse gases by 24.27 million metric tons in 2050, the staff report estimates.

The air resource board’s staff predicts that employment will increase initially to build charging stations and to expand the electric grid.

Eventually, according to the staff, employment will drop, primarily because there will be fewer government jobs as revenue from gas taxes drops.

The board’s staff, however, noted that new government-adopted “roadway pricing strategies … are not unlikely.”

© Copyright, 2022, Capital Press (Salem, OR). All Rights Reserved.


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