Trucks and businesses across California will be affected by the proposed Advanced Clean Fleets regulation.  -  Photo: Canva

Trucks and businesses across California will be affected by the proposed Advanced Clean Fleets regulation.

Photo: Canva

New changes to California law could affect diesel-fueled fleets shortly.

The proposed Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation, or “proposed ACF regulation,” would contribute to achieving the state’s criteria pollutant and GHG reduction goals as well as cleaner technology targets needed to protect communities.

Implementing this proposed ACF regulation is expected to save over 5,000 Californian lives between 2024 and 2050. These avoided premature mortalities and other avoided adverse health benefits have an estimated value of more than $57 billion.

Death to Diesel-Fueled

The vehicles affected the most are diesel-fueled. Diesel has grown in popularity because it is cheap and durable. But affordability comes at a cost to the environment and our health.

According to the California Air Resources Board, diesel-fueled trucks are the largest source of nitrogen oxide emissions in California. And as a result, it has been linked to chronic heart disease, asthma, cancer, and more in residents.

Will Barrett, national senior director for clean air advocacy with the American Lung Assn states, “Pound for pound, heavy-duty trucks are putting out far more pollution than anything else on the road.” Because of this, it’s “really directly contributing to the fact that California has the worst air pollution in the country.”

The ACF regulation directly addresses this major issue. It would require state and local government fleets, drayage trucks, high-priority fleets, and federal fleets to phase out over time. And their replacements will be medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).

Additionally, it sets a clear end date for new internal combustion-powered medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales in California. The regulation includes four components: three sets of fleet requirements on state and local government fleets, drayage trucks, high priority, and federal fleets, and a ZEV sales requirement on medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers.

The broad change is part of a comprehensive strategy that would, consistent with public health needs, accelerate the widespread adoption of ZEV in the medium- and heavy-duty truck sector and in light-duty package delivery vehicles.

The proposed ACF regulation would require certain fleets to deploy ZEVs starting in 2024 and would establish a clear end date for new medium- and heavy-duty internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle sales in 2040.

Changes to Infrastructure

California fleets will need to make drastic changes to meet the proposed ACF regulation by 2040. One of the updates will be to infrastructure. By 2040, 400,000 trucks traveling in California would need charging infrastructure.

And not just normal charging stations would work. Right now, the fastest charging stations take three to four hours to charge trucks. High-powered charging stations are needed to reduce charging time.

Chris Shimoda, vice president of the California Trucking Assn., states “There is no infrastructure to support this.” That means big changes are needed, as well as the technology for faster charges.

To help build these infrastructures, incentives are in place by the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act to encourage and “accelerate widespread transportation electrification (TE).” This includes $1.8 billion supporting light-, medium-, and heavy-duty (on-road and off-road) charging infrastructure development, including direct-current fast charging.

Another incentive is the EnergIIZE program. It provides incentives for fueling infrastructure to support battery-electric and fuel cell commercial vehicles.

Overall, the proposed regulation is one for the history books. “The rule truly is monumental. This is the only way we can get diesel out of our community,” said Andrea Vidaurre, a policy analyst at the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice, a nonprofit based in the Inland Empire.

Related: Leading the Charge: 3 Ways to Succeed with Fleet Electrification

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