State Will Consider Banning The Sale Of New Diesel Trucks
Truck drivers take a rest at the Westborough Service Plaza in Westborough, MA along the Massachusetts Turnpike on March 26, 2020. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a majority of people to work from home, most of the nations 3.5 million drivers have kept rolling, trying to mitigate unprecedented supply chain disruptions by continuing to move goods around the nation. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

California regulators are considering a ban on new diesel trucks by 2040, according to a policy proposal due for review next month.

Draft guidelines from the California Air Resources Board would also mandate that all medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks entering ports and railyards must be zero-emission, with state and local government fleets reaching the standard by 2027.

“A number of policies to reduce pollution from engines and their fuels have made significant progress, but more needs to be done, especially considering the long-life of trucks and the urgency of climate action,” the document argued.

Leading automakers, however, have not yet brought electric semi-trucks to the market. Although production was originally slated to begin in 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced last month that the Tesla Semi would start shipping by the end of 2022. Diesel semi-trucks can travel 2,100 miles on a single tank, according to an analysis from logistics company Schneider, while Tesla’s electric version will have a range of 500 miles.

The California Air Resources Board also claimed that decreasing emissions is necessary to avoid severe weather conditions.

“In California, climate change is contributing to an escalation of serious problems along with worsening air quality challenges, including raging wildfires, coastal erosion, extreme weather, disruption of water supply, threats to agriculture, spread of insect-borne diseases, and continuing health threats from air pollution,” the proposal continued. “Reducing GHG emissions helps put California on a trajectory to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and supports a growing clean energy economy.”

News of the proposal comes weeks after the California Air Resources Board issued new rules requiring 35% of new vehicles to produce zero emissions by 2026 — a standard that will rise to a 68% benchmark by 2030 and a 100% benchmark by 2035.

Experts have warned that the state’s electric grid, which faced blackouts during a heatwave earlier this month, will require significant upgrades to manage a rapid transition away from internal combustion vehicles. However, alerts from California officials asked residents to avoid charging their electric cars in the afternoon and evening during a recent heatwave, when demand for power was high.

“Today, most people charge their electric cars when they come home in the evening — when electricity demand is typically at its peak,” according to a report from researchers at Cornell University’s College of Engineering. “If left unmanaged, the power demanded from many electric vehicles charging simultaneously in the evening will amplify existing peak loads, potentially outstripping the grid’s current capacity to meet demand.”

Washington, Massachusetts, and Virginia will follow the California Air Resources Board gas car regulations in accordance with previously enacted laws, although Republicans in the latter state are attempting to overturn the statute. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he was “interested” in the rollback of gas-powered cars in California as he considers nationwide policy standards. “We’ve got to make sure that this happens quickly enough to help us beat climate change,” he remarked.

The Biden administration has established the goal of procuring only 100% zero-emission light-duty vehicles by 2027 and will extend the same standard to all vehicles in the federal government’s fleet by 2035, according to a fact sheet from the White House. The White House has set the “ambitious target” of ensuring that electric vehicles constitute 50% of car sales in the United States by 2030.

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