Last month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) convened a hearing to discuss its controversial new electric truck proposal. CARB had released a plan to phase out the sale of diesel-powered big rigs by 2040. The proposal drew the ire of both supply chain advocates and environmentalists, culminating in a contentious, all-day hearing. Afterwards, CARB said that it would hold another hearing on the matter and delay its vote until spring 2023.
CARB’s Hearing Heard from Hundreds
The hearing on October 27th was raucous and contentious. It began at 9 a.m. on that Thursday in Sacramento and lasted throughout the entire day. Over one hundred Californians from both sides of the aisle lined up to speak their minds at the hearing.
CARB announced its new electric fleet rule in August. It was part of a larger proposal that also mandated the phaseout of gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. While automakers had concerns about the passenger vehicle proposal, it has proved far less controversial than the electric truck mandate.
After the hearing, CARB announced it would hold another hearing at some point in the future. It will delay its vote on the proposal until at least the spring of next year as it mulls over changes.
Both Sides Dislike the Electric Truck Proposal
CARB’s proposal has drawn the ire of both environmentalists and trucking industry advocates for the exact opposite reasons. Environmental groups said at the hearing, and have been saying for some time, that the rule isn’t aggressive enough. They pointed out that the proposal only applies to large fleets and companies with high annual revenue. The groups also made a point of the fact that air quality issues aren’t shared uniformly across the population. Vulnerable groups like Black and Latino communities would bear the brunt of the poor air quality that the state currently suffers. All in all, environmentalists feel like the proposal isn’t strict enough.
However, the transportation industry feels the opposite: it feels as though the proposal is too stringent. Truckers and industry advocates raised concerns at the hearing about losing well-paying jobs and shouldering the cost of the conversion. They also noted that California does not currently have the charging industry infrastructure to support this change. These very real concerns will certainly factor into the board’s ultimate decision on the rule.