Truck makers pledge to comply with new California rules phasing out gas-powered vehicles

Trucks line up to enter a Port of Oakland shipping terminal in 2021 in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Some of the nation’s largest truck makers on Thursday pledged to stop selling new gas-powered vehicles in California by the middle of the next decade, part of an agreement with state regulators aimed at preventing lawsuits that threatened to delay or block the state’s emission standards.

California is trying to rid itself of fossil fuels, passing new rules in recent years to phase out gas-powered cars, trucks, trains and lawn equipment in the nation’s most populous state.

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It will take years before all of those rules fully take effect. But already some industries are pushing back. Last month, the railroad industry sued the California Air Resources Board to block new rules that would ban older locomotives and require companies to purchase zero-emission equipment.

Thursday’s announcement means lawsuits are less likely to delay similar rules for the trucking industry. The companies agreed to follow California’s rules, which include banning the sale of new gas-powered trucks by 2036. In the meantime, California regulators agreed to loosen some of their emission standards for diesel trucks. The state agreed to use the federal emission standard starting in 2027, which is lower than what the California rules would have been.

California regulators also agreed to let these companies continue to sell more older diesel engines over the next three years, but only if they also sell zero-emission vehicles to offset the emissions from those older trucks.

The agreement also clears the way for other states to adopt California’s same standards without worrying about whether the rules would be upheld in court, said Steven Cliff, executive officer of the California Air Resources Board. That means more trucks nationally would follow these rules. Cliff said about 60% of the truck vehicle miles traveled in California come from trucks that arrive from other states.

“I think that this sets the stage for a national framework for zero emission trucks,” Cliff said. “It’s a really stringent California-only rule, or a slightly less stringent national rule. We still win in the national scenario.”

The agreement includes some of the largest truck makers in the world, including Cummins Inc., Daimler Truck North America, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Hino Motors Limited Inc, Isuzu Technical Center of American Inc., Navistar Inc, Paccar Inc., Stellantis NV, and Volvo Group North America. The agreement also includes the Truck and Engine Manufacturing Association.

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