Fifteen states and Washington, DC have announced that they will follow California’s example when it comes to converting all heavy trucks, vans and buses to electricity. This could be one of the most significant efforts to reduce harmful diesel engine pollution in the United States. It could also be a major development in the fight for environmental justice, as emissions from diesel-powered commercial vehicles are disproportionately damaging to black, Asian and Latin American communities.
The states that have signed the agreement with Washington, DC are: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington .
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced in late June that all commercial vehicles and vans must be emission-free by 2045, with milestones on the way. The state had already announced a rule in 201
The state phalanx and the District of Columbia agree to similar goals, doing so “by 2050, 100 percent of all new sales of medium and heavy commercial vehicles will be zero-emission vehicles, with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales in these vehicle categories by 2030” , said the New York governor’s office.
The agreement is not legally binding. But California has long been a leader in the promotion of clean energy vehicles, as a result of the car initiative that was launched in the 1990s and helped bring electric cars to bear in the United States. More than a dozen states are already following California’s leadership in zero-emission passenger cars.
The role of the state as a carrier of emission standards was only increased during Donald Trump’s term as president. Despite the fact that humanity is struggling with a growing climate crisis, Trump has worked for three years to push back environmental protection and pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal. In March, he rescued a fuel economy standard signed by Barack Obama’s presidency that was to be a cornerstone in the fight against rising global emissions. California responded to the rollback by getting four automakers to agree on steadily increasing standards similar to those of Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Daimler, Tesla, Volvo and China’s BYD are all working on large-scale electrical systems, and startups like Chanje, Arrival, Nikola and Rivian (who build 100,000 electric vans for Amazon) are also working on electric trucks or vans. Thanks to companies like BYD and California’s Proterra, electric buses are already on the road.