California will require half of all heavy trucks sold there to be fully electric by 2035. The news comes after the Environmental Protection Agency officially approved the decision Friday. It's the latest in a series of rules adopted by the state, which can set its own emissions rules that are usually followed by more than a dozen other states.
“We’re leading the charge to get dirty trucks and buses—the most polluting vehicles—off our streets, and other states and countries are lining up to follow our lead,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
He's referencing the fact that transportation accounts for 40% of California's greenhouse gas emissions annually. That's a big number, one that state officials plan to address by banning new gas and diesel passenger vehicle sales by 2035 as well. California is not alone as several other states, including Washington and New York, plan to stop the sales of traditional internal combustion cars by then as well. The EPA hasn't yet approved California's waiver for the ban, as The Associated Press reports, although they typically have allowed the state to regulate its own emissions.
Friday's announcement is far from the first step California has taken toward cleaning up freight operations within its borders. It will most directly impact heavy truck and bus manufacturers along with those who operate large fleets like logistics companies. As recently as last September, the California Air Resources Board proposed a complete ban on diesel heavy trucks by 2042.
“Under the Clean Air Act, California has longstanding authority to address pollution from cars and trucks. Today’s announcement allows the state to take additional steps in reducing their transportation emissions through these new regulatory actions,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.
The steps required to make this target feasible are still being fleshed out, as California has only a few thousand zero-emissions heavy vehicles on its roads. The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, which represents the companies that build the big rigs in question, says electrification will drastically increase the costs of their products. What's more, fleet operators are hesitant to purchase them due to their high prices.