Oregon’s Clean Trucks Rule expedites zero-emission trucks sales

November 24, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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Oregon’s Clean Trucks Rule will soon require manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission trucks in the state.

Recently approved by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, the Clean Trucks Rule is taking aim at emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Beginning with model year 2025, manufacturers must increase the percentage of zero-emission truck sales. The number of additional zero-emission trucks will depend on the class size of the truck.

Specifically, Class 7-8 zero-emission truck sales must account for at least 7% of all model year 2025 truck sales for manufacturers. By the time model year 2035 trucks are available, at least 40% of new truck sales must be zero-emission tractors. For medium-duty trucks, more than 75% of new truck sales must derive from zero-emission models.

The Clean Trucks Rule may not affect the total sales of zero emission trucks nationwide. New sales targets only apply to trucks sold and delivered to a buyer in Oregon.

Additionally, certain businesses will need to file a one-time report about their fleet. Companies that operate at least one facility in Oregon with at least five medium- or heavy-duty trucks must submit information about fleet vehicle use and location data no later than June 30, 2022. That rule also applies to businesses with 2021 gross annual revenues of more than $50 million.

Oregon is aware that zero-emission trucks will likely not be available or economically feasible for heavy-duty trucks, especially long-haul applications. To address that, the state is also implementing the Heavy-duty Engine and Vehicle Omnibus Rule, better known as HD Omnibus.

Manufacturers that cannot produce and sell zero-emission trucks will have lower emissions standards for model year 2024 engines and model year 2025 trucks sold in Oregon.

Specifically, nitrogen oxide standards must be 75% and 90% below current standards by 2024 and 2027, respectively. Other requirements include:

  • A new low load cycle standard which addresses emissions associated with low speeds, light payloads and other situations when emissions temperatures are not high enough to ensure proper catalyst operation.
  • Reduction of idling emission standard by 67% and 83% below the current standard respectively in 2024 and 2027.
  • Between 70% and 220% longer useful life and warranty periods depending on vehicle size and fuel type.
  • Update testing procedures to demonstrate engine and after-treatment durability and in-use performance.

According to the Environmental Quality Commission, transportation accounts for about 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon. Although heavy-duty trucks and buses account for only 4% of vehicles on the road nationwide, they are responsible for nearly a quarter of total transportation sector emissions nationally and 23% in Oregon.

Costs of requiring a certain number of zero emission trucks will likely trickle down to consumers. Environmental Quality Commission documents acknowledge that manufacturers may pass on the costs of compliance to buyers.

Although there may be a larger fiscal impact, Oregon believes the benefits outweigh the costs. The state claims zero-emission trucks “will result in a decreased number of hospital visits, fewer missed days of work and school, and a way to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule

Oregon’s new rules are a carbon copy of California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule.

Last June, the California Air Resources Board passed the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule. At the time, it was the nation’s strictest truck emissions standards for manufacturers. The rule was met with opposition from manufacturers.

“In essence, CARB’s pending (Advanced Clean Trucks) proposal would put the cart before the horse by mandating that manufacturers sell an increasing percentage of zero-emission heavy-duty and medium-duty vehicles, without first ensuring that the requisite (zero-emission vehicle) recharging infrastructure and (zero-emission vehicle) recharging -purchasing requirements will be in place,” the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association stated ahead of the rule. “Until those two critical legs of what should be a three-legged rulemaking are established, the proposed ACT regulation is likely to collapse.”

On the other hand, the California Trucking Association offered broad support.

“In order to ensure the nation’s first electric truck standard can succeed there is a lot of work that needs to be done on infrastructure, incentives and other important issues,” Chris Shimoda, CTA’s vice president of government affairs, told Land Line last June. “In the midst of a coming recession, having the state’s support to incentivize the purchase of these vehicles has never been more important.” LL

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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.