Bill to put more clean energy trucks on the road awaits California governor signature
 

September 5, 2018. California is leading the nation in the quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. However, diesel- and gasoline-powered heavy-duty trucks are still prevalent on the state’s roads and highways. These vehicles are the most concentrated source of the state’s annual emissions from the transportation sector, responsible for 23 percent of transportation emissions.

   A bill by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, would clear the path to start replacing fossil fuel big-rigs with zero-emission and near-zero-emission heavy-duty trucks. AB 2061 was approved by the Legislature with strong bipartisan support and is now on the governor’s desk.

   “Heavy-duty vehicles – from garbage trucks to big-rigs – that burn diesel or gasoline are the most concentrated source of greenhouse gas emissions on our roads,” Frazier said. “Incentivizing the use of trucks powered by clean technology is crucial to reducing harmful pollution and meeting the state’s emission reduction goals.

   “Major transportation corridors tend to run next to lower-income and disadvantaged communities, and the pollution from these trucks disproportionately impacts this segment of our population,” Frazier added.

   The engine and propulsion systems in electric-, hydrogen- and natural gas-powered trucks weigh more than traditional internal combustion engines by as much as 2,000 pounds.  Under current law, cleaner energy trucks have to reduce their carrying capacity to comply with state weight laws, creating a disincentive for businesses to invest in cleaner trucks. AB 2061 removes this barrier by creating a 2,000-pound weight exemption for zero-emission (ZE) and near-zero-emission (NZE) vehicles.

   The bill has the backing of 60 large companies and organizations, including United Parcel Service, Tesla and Cummins, CALSTART and the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. This coalition signed onto a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown urging him to sign the bill.