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Supply Chain News: EPA OKs Controversial California Rules to Accelerate Mandatory Electric Truck Adoption


Will the New Regulations move Quickly to Other States?

April 4, 2023

The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued California environmental regulators waivers that allow the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to advance its new and aggressive plans to transition diesel trucks to electric vehicles- perhaps forcing the rest of the country to soon follow the same path.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


Six other states (New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington and Vermont), which together with California represent about 20% of the nation’s heavy-duty vehicle sales, have already committed to follow California’s tougher standards..

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The new rules were fought furiously by the American Trucking Associations and other trucking interest.

CARB’s Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation mandates that truck OEMs produce and sell increasing quantities of medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission trucks in the state.

The federal Clean Air Act gives the California wide latitude to craft emissions rules to address its serious air quality issues. However, the state must seek waivers from EPA for new vehicle emission standards.


As reported by Transport Topics magazine, under the new CARB rules, truck manufacturers who certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines must sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales starting in 2024. By 2035, zero-emission truck/chassis sales must account for 55% of Class 2b–3 truck sales, 75% of Class 4–8 straight truck sales and 40% of truck tractor sales, according to CARB. It moves to 100% in 2045.

After the EPA’s March 31 ruling, EPA Administrator Michael Regan commented that “Under the Clean Air Act, California has long-standing authority to address pollution from cars and trucks,” adding that “Today’s announcement allows the state to take additional steps in reducing their transportation emissions through these new regulatory actions.”

After the ruling, American Trucking Associations president Chris Spear said that CARB is adopting “damaging and unrealistic” emissions rules will harm the industry across the US.

In his statement, Spears said that “By granting California’s waiver for its so-called ‘advanced clean trucks’ rule, the EPA is handing over the keys as a national regulator.”

He continued that “This isn’t the United States of California, and in order to mollify a never-satisfied fringe environmental lobby by allowing the state to proceed with these technologically infeasible rules on unworkable and unrealistic timelines, the EPA is sowing the ground for a future supply chain crisis.”


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Six other states (New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington and Vermont), which together with California represent about 20% of the nation’s heavy-duty vehicle sales, have already committed to follow California’s tougher standards.

Proponents of the rules argue that since California has the nation’s worst air, it sets tough standards to meet what state’s environmental officials have called the Golden state’s “compelling and extraordinary conditions.”

According to Transport Topics, the new regulations have received support from state air quality officials nationwide, but “a number of motor carriers and truck trade organizations have joined ATA in cautioning that the rule is moving forward too fast.”

The freight truck mandate timeline is actually a slower transition than the state has set for passenger cars and trucks, which have to switch to sales of no-emission models by 2035, in recognition of how much further behind the electric truck industry is.

The EPA’s approval of California’s waivers was expected, but does not mean the issue is done. Some of the nation’s largest truck manufacturers, the ATA and others are likely to sue to stop the policies from taking effect.

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