Trucking companies are buying diesel trucks now while they still can. Next year, new emissions rules will kick in, forcing companies to purchase “zero emission” vehicles. Paul Berger reports in The Wall Street Journal:
Manny Carrillo has spent $1.5 million on two electric big rigs and a charging station at his truck yard in Chino, Calif., ahead of a new state emissions rule that kicks in Jan. 1.
The chief executive of Talon Logistics is also beefing up his fleet with 20 diesel trucks, the kind that the new regulation is seeking to eliminate.
Carrillo’s is one of many logistics companies loading up on diesel big rigs as California prepares to roll out a rule requiring that trucks purchased after Jan. 1, 2024, that serve the state’s ports be zero-emission vehicles.
The truckers are trying to bolster their fleets now rather than face the higher costs and other problems, including scarce availability of new-technology rigs and limited charging infrastructure, once the new mandate kicks in.
“We are trying to take the hit now at a lot more reasonable cost per month versus buying electric trucks next year,” said Carrillo.
Diesel trucks will have a limited future in California under the new rule, one of a series of regulations that target carbon emissions across the state’s supply chains. The California rule will phase out the use of diesel trucks until the more than 30,000 diesel big rigs that now serve the state’s ports are banned by 2035.
The regulation is already proving a challenge for truckers across California, from the agricultural export hub at the Port of Oakland to the nation’s busiest gateway for containerized imports at the Southern California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Trucking executives say the state’s regulators are getting far out in front of the industry’s ability to deliver zero-emission rigs.
The technology underpinning electric vehicles is still developing, they say, and the zero-emission trucks are triple the cost of diesel trucks, while the vehicles and charging stations are in limited supply.
The struggles show the difficulty local and federal authorities face as they try to push a heavily-polluting industry toward cleaner fuels.
In California, state officials and regulators are trying to jump-start a market for zero-emission vehicles by mandating their use in state-regulated spaces. They also hope the mandate draws in more suppliers of charging infrastructure.
For now, however, the rules are boosting sales of diesel trucks.
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