California's air board proposes ban on sale of diesel trucks after 2040

California’s air board is proposing a ban on the sale of big rig, or diesel trucks after 2040. The plan is expected to help meet the state’s climate and clean air goals.  

This proposed regulation is similar to the one mandated for cars in California a couple of months ago. Diesel-fueled trucks will eventually be replaced by electric trucks, but one trucking company says there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how this is going to work.  

"You rely on a grid that doesn’t have enough capacity to go through one week of heat wave. How are you going to charge all these trucks?" said Bill Aboudi, President of AB Trucking in Oakland.   

The CA Air Resources Board says medium and heavy-duty trucks account for 25% of the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Board’s report doesn’t mention what it’ll cost to fully transition to selling electric trucks after 2040. But it does say it’ll implement incentive spending, infrastructure installation and land-use policies, within the proposed Advanced Clean Fleets regulation or ACF.  

"Well in reality, we all want clean air. We want to reduce pollution, our footprint on the earth but in reality, we still have to move cargo," Aboudi said.   

Right now, there are just over 1,900 zero-emission, medium and heavy-duty vehicles on California roads. The President of AB Trucking in Oakland says they’ve already begun to use electric, heavy-duty vehicles but the cost of replacing fuel-operated trucks is simply too expensive right now.  

"I just got a quote for an electric truck, and it’s basically a half-million dollars gross. So, when I do get the incentives, which is about $270,000 per truck, then I’m still at $270,000 a truck. That’s double what you would pay for a diesel truck," Aboudi said.   

The proposed ACF regulation will apply to companies that have fleets of 50 or more medium and heavy-duty trucks. Emergency vehicles like an ambulance will be exempt. ACF will also apply to California’s city, county, public utility and other government agencies that operate diesel trucks.  

The Board has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for next month. The Air Resources Board says this regulation on trucks could also save billions of dollars in health care costs and ultimately save 5,000 thousand lives in California by 2050.