The EPA is expected to grant California a waiver to ban diesel trucks and a series of other regulations.
California has led the nation in limiting the use of ICE vehicles, even going as far as banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles past 2035. Now, the west coast state is looking to place similar regulations on heavy diesel trucks. According to a report from the Washington Post, the EPA will likely grant California a waiver to implement the regulations in the coming weeks.
California’s newest regulation has three parts, but the most significant is a requirement for automakers to sell an increasing number of electric trucks, leading to diesel trucks fading out 100% by 2045. The California rule does stipulate that automakers could also sell hydrogen-powered vehicles as they wane off diesel.
On top of this, California would be accelerating a regulation already established by the federal government, which would further limit the emission of nitrous oxides and particulate from diesel vehicles. California would require truckmakers to put these changes in place for the 2024 model year instead of the 2027 model year required by the federal government. Finally, California would require truckmakers to ensure their new emission controls continue to work over the vehicle’s lifetime.
Perhaps the most significant part of the California regulations is their effect on vehicles outside the state. Six states, including New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Oregon, Washington state, and Massachusetts, are expected to follow California’s lead and implement these regulations as well.
It is unlikely that these new regulations will go without challenge. Currently, California is being sued by a large number of states for the implementation of the 2035 ICE vehicle ban. If this new diesel truck ban is implemented, it could easily face a similar legal challenge.
It remains unclear what the effect on the market will be if these regulations are implemented, but there is no doubt they would likely encourage businesses to go electric. Most notably, this could push many shipping companies on the west coast toward electric semis, such as those currently made by Tesla, Peterbilt, Volvo, and others.
Outside of 18-wheelers, other heavy-duty truck segments will likely be dramatically affected. Garbage trucks, delivery trucks, commercial vans, and even medium-duty pickups are all currently powered by diesel engines and would be controlled by the new regulations. This could dramatically increase interest in trucks and vans from companies like Ford, Rivian, and Mercedes, who have all become major players in the commercial electric vehicle market in recent months.