California approves banning diesel truck sales by 2036

American Trucking Associations call California diesel truck sales ban 'unrealistic'

California air regulators approved regulation Friday to ban the sale of traditional combustion trucks – that run of diesel – by 2036 in the state.

The rule must now be approved or denied by President Biden's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. California's vehicle emissions standards are regularly followed by other states.

Known as Advanced Clean Fleets, this action puts the Golden State on the path toward fully transitioning medium and heavy-duty trucks there to zero-emissions technology by 2045. 

Major fleet operators also have an option to begin that process next year. 

Big rigs, local delivery and government fleets must transition by 2035, garbage trucks and local buses must be zero-emission by 2039 and all other vehicles covered by the rules must be zero-emission by 2042, according to the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom.


A truck departs from a Port of Oakland shipping terminal

FILE - A truck departs from a Port of Oakland shipping terminal on Nov. 10, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. On Friday, April 28, 2023, California regulators voted to end the sale of new diesel-powered big rigs and buses in the state by 2036.  (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File / AP Newsroom)

Companies would be required to disclose their use of big rigs by 2024.

This adds to California's Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which was approved by the Biden administration in March. That rule requires manufacturers to accelerate sales of new zero-emissions heavy-duty trucks by 2035. 

The California Air Resources Board also OKed a first-in-the-country rule to limit train pollution. 

That regulation aims to accelerate cleaner locomotive technologies, limit idling and require newly built passenger and freight trains to be zero-emissions by 2030 and 2035, respectively. 

"The two regulations work in tandem to drastically cut air pollution – especially in disadvantaged communities – and achieve Governor Newsom’s bold vision for [zero emissions vehicles] in California," the governor's office said in a release, noting that vulnerable communities located near trucking corridors and warehouse locations have some of the worst air nationwide. 

Of the top 10 most ozone-polluted cities in the U.S., six are in California, according to an American Lung Association's State of the Air report.

Trucks line up to enter a Port of Oakland shipping terminal

FILE - Trucks line up to enter a Port of Oakland shipping terminal on Nov. 10, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File / AP Newsroom)


The trucks rule is expected to generate $26.6 billion in health savings, and fleet owners will save an estimated $48 billion from the transition to cleaner vehicles.

The reduced nitrogen oxide and diesel pollution from trains will reportedly bring an estimated $32 billion in health savings by preventing 3,200 premature deaths and 1,500 emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

"The future happens here first, and California is once again showing the world what real climate action looks like," Newsom said. "Last year, our state approved one of the world’s first regulations requiring all new car sales to be zero emissions. Now, with these actions requiring all new heavy-duty truck sales to be zero emission and tackling train pollution in our state, we’re one step closer to achieving healthier neighborhoods and cleaner air for all Californians."

A semi-truck turns into an Amazon Fulfillment center

FILE - A semi-truck turns into an Amazon Fulfillment center in Eastvale, California, on Nov. 12, 2020.  (Watchara Phomicinda/The Orange County Register via AP, File / AP Newsroom)

California approved one of the world's first regulations last year requiring all of new car sales to be zero emissions vehicles by 2035, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The Biden administration hopes to have half of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030.

The state – poised to become the world's fourth-largest economy – is investing $9 billion toward the transition, through the California Climate Commitment.


Some in the truck industry are concerned that the rule will increase prices for good that are trucked and the American Trucking Associations called the rule "unrealistic."

"As it becomes clear that California’s rhetoric is not being matched by technology, we hope the board will reverse course and allow trucking companies the freedom to choose the clean technologies that work best for their operations," the group said in a statement.

It noted that emissions from trucks have already gone down drastically in recent decades.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.