California will require 100% zero-emission truck sales by 2045

September 25, 2020

Tyson Fisher


Nearly three months after the California Air Resources Board passed the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation, which establishes the nation’s strictest truck emissions standards for manufacturers, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a similar executive order that affects all passenger vehicles and expands on CARB’s zero-emission truck regulation.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, Gov. Newsom signed Executive Order N-79-20, which addresses emissions standards in passenger vehicles. In short, the order will require 100% of sales of new passenger vehicles in California to be zero-emission by 2035. The executive order also requires the same standard for medium and heavy-duty trucks by 2045.

In June, CARB passed the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation. According to the regulation, manufacturers that certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines will be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2035. By 2035, 75% of Class 4-8 straight truck sales and 40% of truck tractor sales must derive from zero-emission truck/chassis sales.

The new executive order expands on that regulation. Whereas the Advanced Clean Trucks requires 40-75% of sales include zero-emission vehicles by 2035, depending on truck type, Newsom’s order moves that up to 100% of sales by 2045.

There is one caveat: the new zero-emission standard applies to “all operations where feasible.”

However, the standard applies to all drayage trucks by 2035.

According to the executive order, the state will create a Zero-Emissions Vehicle Market Development Strategy by Jan. 31, 2021. That document will make sure policies, programs and regulations relevant to the zero-emission goal will be implemented. It will also include actions to support new and used zero-emission vehicle markets for broad accessibility for all California residents.

Currently, the most feasible path to zero-emission is electrification. Addressing that reality, the executive order also calls for the acceleration of affordable fueling and charging options.

In a news release, Newsom claimed that zero-emission vehicles will be cheaper than fossil fuel-powered vehicles by the time the new rules go into effect.

“The upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car – both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile – is far less than a fossil fuel-burning vehicle,” Newsom said.

However, the document Newsom cited applies to passenger vehicles only. Currently, there are few zero-emission trucks on the market. Those that do exist cost more than a traditional truck. Maintenance is likely more expensive on those trucks as most truck mechanics only work with diesel trucks.

Newsom’s executive order is the latest move by the state to address climate change by eliminating emissions in vehicles. Trucks have been the main target. In 2008, California adopted CARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation. That rule requires all trucks and buses to have 2010 or newer model year engines by 2023.

The governor’s executive order also applies to off-road vehicles and equipment, all of which will move to zero-emission by 2035 as well. Unlike regulations for trucks, the executive order does not eliminate gas-powered cars in California. Although all trucks must have 2010 or newer engines, Californians will still be able to sell cars using fossil fuels on the used car market.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said in a statement. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”  LL

Int'l Used Trucks

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.