Steve Goreham: California mandates electric trucks, but 19 states sue to block

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By STEVE GOREHAM | MASTER RESOURCE

Earlier this year, California passed regulations that would turn the trucking industry upside down. New mandates for zero emissions trucks would disrupt the industry, raise shipping costs, and put trucking companies out of business. A group including 19 states and several trucking organizations recently filed suit to block the California regulation.

California’s Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) Regulation goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The ACF requires that truck operators buy only Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) trucks for medium-duty and heavy-duty trucking operations as early as January 2024. The ACF also requires that trucking companies transition their fleets to 100 percent ZEV trucks by 2035 to 2042, depending upon class of truck.

On Nov. 3, 19 state attorneys general and several trucking organizations filed a brief in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block ACF. The suit argues that the ACF regulation is unconstitutional and highlights the negative consequences of forced electrification of the heavy truck fleet.

ZEV trucks are plug-in battery electric trucks and hydrogen fuel-cell trucks. The goal of ACF is to remove all trucks with internal combustion engines from California roads by as early as 2035.

According to the regulation, new trucks for drayage, high priority truck fleets, and public fleets must be ZEV trucks as of January. Drayage trucks operate at California ports or transport containerized freight to and from intermodal rail yards. High-priority fleets belong to private companies with more than 50 trucks or over $50 million in annual revenue. Public fleets are owned by state and local governments.

For practical purposes, ACF will require half of all new heavy-duty truck sales to be electric trucks, instead of diesel trucks. Few new trucks would be hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, which are not competitive at this time.

Under the Clean Air Act of 1967, Congress preempted states from adopting emissions standards for motor vehicles. But in Section 209 of the Act, California was permitted to seek a waiver from this preemption. In March of 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency granted a waiver to allow California to establish the ACF emissions standard for heavy trucks. If this waiver stands, the Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation may allow California to try to force a national transition to electric trucks.

The suit filed against Advanced Clean Fleets regulation argues that the EPA should not have granted the waiver. It argues that the ACF crosses state lines, and that California should not be allowed to regulate trucking for the nation.

Eight other states, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, have already adopted California’s ACF rules. Another six states are expected to join. But can electric trucks do the job? 

Electric trucks suffer major disadvantages when compared to diesel trucks. Diesel trucks can travel about 1200 miles after filling the tank in 15 minutes. The range of electric trucks is about 150-330 miles and recharging may take hours, even on a high-speed charger.

Electric truck cabs cost two to three times as much as diesel cabs, an incremental cost of as much as $300,000 per truck. Electric cabs also weigh about 10,000 pounds more than comparable diesel versions. This can reduce net freight carried by as much as 20 percent. 

Few heavy truck charging stations exist, and the power requirements are huge. The new heavy-duty truck charging station in South El Monte, California can charge up to 32 trucks in about 90 minutes. The South El Monte site was funded through the Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative, funded by California state and local agencies. But six megawatts of electricity will be needed to simultaneously charge these trucks, more than the power consumed by 200,000 homes or used in a small California city, such as San Bernardino or Huntington Beach.

But the South El Monte site is one of very few heavy truck charging sites. The California Energy Commission estimates that 157,000 medium- and heavy-duty chargers will be required by 2030. If these are built, the peak electricity draw could be as much as an additional 5,000 cities the size of San Bernardino. It’s very unlikely that the California grid could deliver this much power. Heavy duty charging sites would also need to be built all over the nation.

The California Air Resources Board, which established the ACF, claims that the regulation is needed to “protect the public health and welfare of Californians.” But ACF benefits to Californians will be negligible. Particulate air pollution in California has been reduced to such low levels that a single large wildfire exhausts more particulate pollution in a few days than all California vehicles exhaust in an entire year. China emits more greenhouse gases in a day than California trucks emit in a year.

California’s Advanced Clean Fleets regulation, if adopted, will be a disaster for trucking and consumers. The jump in truck costs will put small truckers out of business. Freight delivery times will increase because of long charging times. Longer delivery times and smaller loads will require 20 to 50 percent more trucks to move the same amount of freight.

In 2022, trucks moved 73 percent of US domestic freight. Forced adoption of electric trucks will boost the cost of food, medicines, clothing, and materials for consumers and businesses, put upward pressure on inflation, and provide negligible pollution control benefits. The US Court of Appeals and other states should reject California’s ACF regulation.

Steve Goreham is a speaker on energy, the environment, and public policy and the author of the new bestselling book Green Breakdown: The Coming Renewable Energy Failure. Originally published in Master Resource.

47 COMMENTS

  1. Simple solution is the trucking industry should just not take anything in or out of California. See how long that regulation will last.

    • Set up a giant hub in Nevada, just across the state line. However California gets the goods there, fine.

      Then let adults do the distribution from there. For other states who want to play this game, drop their goods at the state line.

    • Exactly, Smokey!

      I would LOVE to see an organized truckers’ boycott of California. Let the radical leftist extremist idiots stew in the chaos and misery of their own creation.

      Instead of merely protesting, that is also what the Canadian truckers should have done early last year in response to Tyrant Mini-Castro’s totalitarian clot shot mandates.

  2. California doesn’t have enough electricity to do this. Heck it takes years to put in a new distribution line due to the length of time required for Environmental Impact Statement.

  3. No, California you do not run the country. States like Alaska rely on trucking for all our supplies from the Lower 48 and beyond. What I see with this push for ridiculous electric vehicles is so we are really under the Governments thumb. The cost is non affordable, and nothing is going to change that. They want us all so weak and dependent on them and this is the way it’s gonna start. Electric trucks in places that have winter for 7 months??? Give me a break.
    No, use that gas and oil like we have been. It’s sustainable, and much much cheaper than this electric nonsense.
    All states need to block this crap. We gonna let California run the show?? I think not!

  4. I do not look forward to more shipping issues.

    Can Alaska just do business with other places, like Argentina & the Netherlands? Maybe get some huge indoor grow rooms for foods that can’t normally be grown here?

    Just tossing out ideas. Feel free to brainstorm some more!

    • Chickens and dairys and wheat in the Kenai. Large livestock on Kodiak or one of the Aleutians. Root crops in the Tanana valley and large vegetable grow warehouses. Alaska fisheries only for Alaskans and sell the surplus.
      And all Democrats have to raise pigs every year in their yard. Seems appropriate.

    • A major impediment is the fed owns most of our land. To attempt that level of self sufficiency will be land and resource intensive.

      I’m all for it, but we gotta be smart how we do it.

  5. Alaska is not part of that group that have the lawsuit. Electric trucks anyone? This is looking worse and worse for Alaskans!
    Here are the 19 states that are involved in the lawsuit according to one of the links: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

  6. We just need the oil company’s to stop selling fossil fuels in kalifornia for 1 week and see how they crawl back to reality.
    If government was serious about climate change they would stop all sporting events and concerts as they are unnecessary events using fossil fuels. We need to move products but we don’t need Entertainment events.

  7. “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages…” They want to make slaves of us all – while the rest of the world laughs at our foolishness. Where are electric trucks made? And the charging equipment? California? China? How are we going to produce all that electricity? A Dyson ring? Some ignorant idiot has been smoking a lot of something…

  8. Let it happen. When the supply chain crashes and businesses learn to work around it, California will pay the price for stupidity.

    On the other side, since the Feds regulate interstate commerce, this is a massive overreach.

  9. California’s “progressive” agenda will not only cripple California but also the country, as it has leading ports to for the country. Let Alaska welcome the imports / exports for the U.S. by building up our ports in Seward, Whittier, Skagway, Pt. MacKenzie, and Anchorage. Let’s use our truckers to hull loads to Idaho. Let us get that rail system into Canada. Logistics in the transportation of goods is what will be the success or failure of any country or military operation. Pro-active policy makers with guts to move forward are needed now. Renewing our workforce by training our high school students to be job ready by 17 or 18. “Strike while the iron is hot” and enhance a strong Alaskan economy. These are reasons I am running for State Senate in 2024.

  10. Some of these numbers don’t add up. To charge 32 trucks with 6 megawatts would only be about 190 kilowatts for each truck, Tesla says their big rig trucks use about 2 kilowatts per mile, 190 kilowatts only gets that truck about 95 miles down the road. Tesla says their truck has a range of around 500 miles and at 2 kilowatts per mile it would need a battery that holds 1 megawatt. Those 32 trucks would then require 32 megawatts, over 90 minutes that would be a charge rate of around 21 MWh instead of the 4 MWh rate that 6 megawatts would be over 90 minutes.

    Let’s say that excess solar and wind are where the electricity comes from, solar is generated during 4 peak hours of the day and wind is intermittent. Are tens of thousands of trucks going to simply sit idle while their batteries are charged during the middle of the work day? What of the drivers and other workers employed in the trucking industry, are they going to be paid while they wait for the batteries charge?

    The electrical grid, even in California, isn’t ready for any of this by January, let alone by 2035.

      • You just summed up the insanity and the complete divorcement from reality of the battery-powered vehicle agenda. Although I would say “dystopian” as much as “utopian”.

  11. This is by design and just another tactic to crash our country. What about cargo that needs to be frozen or refrigerated? This will take even more battery power. We’ll have food rotting on the side of the road. That could be part of the plan also.

  12. Californians will pay the price for the far left agenda
    that the voters voted for, elections have consequences.
    Unfortunately the rest of the country will suffer also.
    A true disaster in the making.

  13. Notice the usual EV gaslighting shills are missing?
    You know, the ones that drop in and say “Silly, paranoid conservatives – nobody is trying to force you to buy EVs!”

    Tough line of bullsht to push in an article where California legislators are doing exactly that.
    They have no intention of giving you any kind of choice or allowing the marketplace to decide.
    Manufacturers are now struggling to sell EVs – because all the mask wearing early adopters, green cheerleaders and novelty-seeking rich have their new toys.

    Now, comes the hard part – they have to convince the rest of us to buy an inferior product at a higher price. Already CEOs (like GM’s Mary Barra, Obama-appointee) and leftist politicians are working overtime to find ‘clever’ ways to remove and gasoline/diesel engines from the market.

    EVs cost too much? Force up the cost of ICE vehicles through regulations, while exempting EVs from the taxes that pay for the roads.
    EVs boring? Regulate away large displacement ICE engines – only 4-bangers for you!
    EVs not useful/inconvenient? Ban ICE vehicles from major cities, and use taxpayer money to pay for electrical charging stations. I’m expecting a crackdown on gasoline service stations in some localities.

  14. We’ve seen these kinds of governmental wrecking ball mandates before. Look at what Lenin and Stalin did to agriculture in the 20’s and 30’s through their ” enlightened” programs.

    You cannot give theoretical men who have not the slightest inkling of how industrial systems operate the power to change and or control those systems.
    The results will be devastating.

    Read Robert Conquest’s book, ” Harvest of Sorrows” for what is coming.

    Starvation, murder and mayhem await. This will not end well.

  15. It is a general error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare

  16. This is genius! Cripple America’s ability in shipping freight at the same time making America wholly dependant upon the Chi- Coms for provision of the batteries with which to power the shipping! I’m certain that Newsome isn’t smart enough to come up with these plans alone.

    Hey, didn’t Xi just visit California?

  17. These people are insane. It all starts with the EPA operating outside of the intent of Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court next year will be ruling on case that hopefully will end the ability of federal agencies to operate outside of the laws passed by Congress.

  18. In reality this would be just a net loss. You have to increase the grid and generate the electric which would be polluting as much or more then you would save. Manufacturing electric vehicles require much more resources than gas or diesel. Also there is a loss in the transfer from the grid to the battery. Until we can produce electricity without pollution and in much greater volume with a rebuilt grid its going to do much more harm than good.

  19. I would fully expect this to be shot down by SCOTUS but I have to laugh at those who seriously think that other states or countries would be so quick to have nothing to do with California economically. It’s the largest sub-national economy in the world and, political rending of garments aside, most are still going to want to do business with the state. Money talks.

    • Cman, California can go to Hell (which they are doing a magnificent job with all by themselves). Their ‘economy’ is mostly based on financial fakery and intermediation, and unsustainable computer technology and Big Tech Surveillance and Control. It is LONG past time for a national boycott of the creeping Californian totalitarianism!

      But being the homeland of the particularly insane version of self-preening (and completely misguided) moralistic posturing and self-righteous authoritarianism that is so dear to your own heart, it is no surprise to find you defending that statist cesspool of idiocy.

        • And leave it to you, cman, to be so thoroughly predictable in defending and standing up for the totalitarian power structure and the establishment status-quo. Like the (red) sunrise you are!

  20. Did anyone read the latest Enstar Newsletter for November 2023? How can we even think electric when Enstar is warning about a future loss of gas? Yes, let’s a convert to electric everything and depend on wind and sun to keep us alive. Haha. That is a good one for sure! I bet it would take less than 3 years to see a mass exodus (or mass death).
    Enstar Newsletter can be found at ‘https://www.enstarnaturalgas.com/cook-inlet-gas-supply/
    or download pdf at ‘https://enstarnaturalgas.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/November-2023-web.pdf
    *Has anyone done a search using the word “Enstar” and view the results that come up? Interesting.

  21. The reason these California regulations affect the entire nation is that 15 or 20 other state have tied their environmental regulations to California’s. Every time the ‘fruits and nuts’ turn a screw, the lemmings follow. If all these states actually adopt these regulations then it’s the end of direct point to point distribution across the country. At least by using common sense and economical motive power. A stay in this case is essential to Interstate Commerce in America; the lawsuit SHOULD prevail.

  22. What is the extra 5 tons of weight per truck going to do to our highway system. Think we have chuck -holes now…

  23. Kalifornia already killed off all their independent owner/operators by putting them out of business. But union trucking companies will fill the void which will drive up commodity prices. Let em starve. Kalifornia is a commie cesspool.

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