The truck industry has too much of an impact on toxic air pollution and carbon emissions. Fortunately, states can adopt two new regulations to address this problem: the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule, which ensures that more zero-emission electric trucks are sold each year, and the High Load Omnibus (HDO) rule, which reduces toxic air pollution. from new fossil fuel trucks.
The rules will bring major economic, environmental and health benefits to states that choose to adopt them. However, transformation regulations always come with some uncertainty and misinformation. To inform states about decision-making, we clean the air and break the myths around the two rules.
What are the timelines of the rules and are they feasible?
The Advanced Clean Trucks rule begins two years after it is adopted, giving manufacturers and the market time to prepare. Annual new sales requirements start low and gradually increase. As the chart below shows, by the model year 2026, the measure would require 10 to 13 percent of all new sales of medium and heavy trucks without fossil fuels. Model availability is slowly expanding. During the moderate accumulation of rules, new types of electric trucks and buses will enter the market.
The heavy duty omnibus rule follows a similar trajectory. Stronger emission standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter for new fossil fuel trucks will begin in 2024 and tighten again in 2027. This will reduce NOx pollution caused by ozone from new trucks by 75 percent in 2024 and 90 percent in 2027. .years. California has spent nearly a decade working with industry and emissions experts to identify an emission standard that is achievable by current technologies and cost-effective. Some manufacturers are already supplying trucks that meet the standards from 2024, so we know that technology exists to achieve these goals.
Both rules have built-in flexibility to help manufacturers manage new requirements. For example, manufacturers are rewarded with early credits for matching trucks that are sold before the rules take effect. And the ACT rule explains the fact that electric truck technology is advancing faster for some classes of vehicles than for others. Manufacturers may expect additional sales of one type of vehicle to meet the standards of another that may not be immediately suitable for electrification.
Aren’t electric trucks expensive?
Yes and no. The price of a sticker on an electric truck is higher than diesel. However, due to high fuel savings and lower maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle, some electric trucks today are competitive based on total cost of ownership. And these start-up costs are falling as battery prices – the most expensive single component – continue to fall. In the last 10 years, battery costs have dropped an incredible 89 percent and are still falling.
Fuel and maintenance cost savings paired with smart government policies such as purchase incentives, dirty truck retirement programs and charging station rebates – which already exist in several states – make the economy of switching to electric trucks particularly advantageous.
Don’t we need charging infrastructure first?
States will need to continue to build charging infrastructure to support a full transition to the electric truck fleet. But that doesn’t have to happen overnight. And several states are already expanding charging networks to support existing transport electrification goals. Across the country, power companies are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in charging infrastructure, with an increasing number of truck- and bus-specific programs.
Further, the adoption of the Advanced Clean Truck rules will give states the leverage to ensure greater investment in charging infrastructure, especially the higher power filling stations that many heavy trucks will need. And new infrastructure investments can support good jobs in the state.
Why force manufacturers to sell electric trucks without requiring the fleet to buy them?
Fleets showed a level of demand along with the amount of ACT rules sold in the early year. The U.S. Postal Service, Amazon, PepsiCo and others have already ordered tens of thousands of electric vehicles. Fleet owners currently need the most reliable and diverse range of clean trucks.
By adopting rules on clean trucks and heavy vehicles, Omnibus will accelerate the improvement of air quality, reduce carbon emissions and support clean energy operations in the participating countries.
The Clean Trucks Rule will ensure this supply and lay the foundations for future policies by stimulating the electric vehicle market, justifying new infrastructure investments and supporting clean energy jobs. Other policies, such as purchase requests, will be followed by support requests as they increase in later stages.
Won’t manufacturers just leave clean truck states to circumvent the new requirements?
Truck manufacturers operate in the global market. As China and several European countries strengthen regulations on the pollution of medium and heavy vehicles, the ability to produce electric trucks is becoming an increasingly critical advantage in the freight industry.
As a result, electric vehicle launches such as Chanje, Arrival and Rivian have emerged in recent years. Meanwhile, traditional auto giants like Volvo and General Motors are trying to bury themselves in the realm of clean trucks. It would be pointless for multinational car manufacturers to leave an expanding market just to invest exclusively in a dying market.
Why not follow a national strategy instead of a national one by country?
First, there’s no reason we can’t do both. But most importantly, we now need to reduce emissions. Fossil fuel trucks emit large amounts of NOx and particulate matter, which are toxic to breathing. Harmful pollutants from trucks are often concentrated in paint and low-income communities, which have suffered the consequences of this pollution for decades. States today can establish these regulations and improve air quality.
It is time for states to decide
California will soon finalize the formal process of enforcing both rules, giving other states the green light to follow their example (the Clean Air Act allows states to adopt California emission standards instead of federal ones).
By adopting rules on clean trucks and heavy vehicles, Omnibus will accelerate the improvement of air quality, reduce carbon emissions and support clean energy operations in the participating countries. New Jersey was the first to announce plans to adopt California’s ACT and HDO rules, and the best way for other states to accelerate the transition to emissions-free fleets is to follow suit.
This post originally appeared on NRDC’s blog of experts.