California Adopts Country’s First Requirement That Trucks Go Electric

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Electric cars are ubiquitous on California highways, but not so much electric trucks. It will change. On Thursday, California became the first state in the country to require trucks to be emission-free, a major step in the fight against dirty air, especially in poor communities surrounded by highways and warehouses, and for solve the thorny problem of climate change.

Resisting opposition from the trucking industry and oil companies, the California Air Resources Control Board approved a rule that requires automakers to sell a minimum number of large vehicles, delivery vans and large pickups zero emissions, starting in 2024. Quotas will be introduced gradually and by 2035, most of the State’s new trucks will produce no pollution.

This ambitious move is expected to spill over far beyond California, as states as far apart as Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have expressed interest in imitating the rule, and automakers are considering an international growing market for electric and hydrogen trucks.

“The rest of the world is watching,” said Dan Sperling, a member of the National Air Board. “This is a revolution that is on the side of history. ”

Trucks are everywhere on California roads, carrying cargo from ports, fruit and vegetables from farms in the San Joaquin Valley, and consumer goods from stores along Interstate 5. Although they still represent much less traffic than cars, trucks often have large diesel engines and travel many more kilometers, which makes their exhaust more important.

Despite the state’s already aggressive air quality rules, seven of the 10 smokiest cities in the country are in California, according to the American Lung Association. Pollution is known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems, often disproportionately in low-income neighborhoods.

“We need regulations that bring us to a healthy and fair future,” said Taylor Thomas, who spoke via video feed at the virtual board meeting. She lives in Long Beach and developed asthma after growing up in a poor area near a highway. “We live with these trucks every day. … Our communities suffer from the burden of pollution. ”

According to the Air Transportation Agency’s analysis, the new regulation, known as the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, will reduce smog-generating nitrogen oxides by 59,000 tonnes by 2040, producing $ 9 billion in health benefits.

California is already requiring automakers to sell a minimum number of electric cars, and the state is currently fighting with the Trump administration to maintain stricter exhaust standards for vehicles.



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