California approves rule ending diesel truck sales by 2036

California regulators on Friday approved a rule that would end the sale of fossil fuel-powered medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the state by 2036.

The rule, which is contingent on federal approval for enforcement, would also require that fleet owners’ trucks be electric or otherwise zero-emission by 2042.

The rule has stricter limits for when certain fleets need to transition, requiring big rigs, local delivery trucks and government fleets to go pollution-free by 2035. Garbage trucks and local buses would need to be zero-emission by 2039.

“The future happens here first, and California is once again showing the world what real climate action looks like,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in a written statement, adding that “we’re one step closer to achieving healthier neighborhoods and cleaner air for all Californians.”

While the rule was first put forward in California, it could also be adopted by other states, like California’s other vehicle regulations have been.

Yasmine Agelidis, a senior associate attorney at Earthjustice, said the rule is “a really exciting and huge rule” for California alone, but she expects other states to be “eager to hop on board.”

However, the trucking industry pushed back on the rule, saying it is unrealistic.

“Today, an unelected Board in California voted to force trucking companies to buy zero-emission trucks. 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 refueling 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,” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said in a written statement.

“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,” Spear added.

The Biden administration recently greenlighted a separate California rule that would require increasing percentages of trucks sold in the state to be electric between 2024 and 2035.

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