The California Air Resources Board voted this week to require all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold in California to be zero-emission by 2036.
By 2042 only electric or hydrogen models would be allowed on the roads.
But many in the industry aren’t happy with the landmark decision.
According to the California Trucking Association (CTA), the state will need to build 400 heavy-duty truck charging units every month between now and the time the mandate fully takes effect.
Owners of small trucking companies say Friday’s decision is just one of a series of blows dealt to them by air regulators.
“We were a busting growing business with our old trucks. We were growing, we were hiring employees,” Jace Crosswell, owner of Crosswell Trucking and North Valley Wood and Aggregate Recycling, told the KRCR radio station.
“Ever since the laws of air quality have hit us, we started to downsize and just shrink and we are shrinking real fast and may not make it through it.
Crosswell said he’s spent close to US$1 million trying to acclimate to recent air regulations but fears by 2036, his company will no longer be able to afford the costs associated with the regulations.
“I think they should have implemented more of a slow reaction and worked with us a little bit,” he said. “Everybody wants clean air and clean water. There’s nobody who does it but to run over business in the wake of trying to get clean air is I think is a little bit harsh.”
The American Trucking Associations president and CEO Chris Spear said the decision to force motor carriers to purchase zero-emission vehicles ignores the fact that these trucks are early-stage technologies and the infrastructure to support them does not exist.
“Today, an unelected Board in California voted to force trucking companies to buy zero-emission trucks,” Spear said in a media statment.
“Fleets are just beginning to understand what it takes to successfully operate these trucks, but what they have learned so far is they are significantly more expensive, charging and refuelling infrastructure is nonexistent, and ZEVs are not necessarily a one-for-one replacement—meaning more trucks will be needed on California roads to move the same amount of freight.
Spear said California is setting unrealistic targets and unachievable timelines that will undoubtedly lead to higher prices for the goods and services delivered to the state and fewer options for consumers.
“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 state plans to spend nearly US$3 billion between 2021 and 2025 for zero-emission truck incentives and fuelling infrastructure as part of a US$9 billion zero-emissions vehicle package agreed to by Governor Gavin Newsom and the state legislature in 2021.