This State Just Banned the Sale of New Diesel Trucks

Updated: Jul. 24, 2023

California lawmakers have announced that all new big-rig trucks sold in the state must be zero-emissions by 2036. Learn what else the new rules cover.

According to the EPA, carbon dioxide makes up around 65% of all greenhouse gases currently affecting the environment, and the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for this. That’s why certain governments, like the state of California, have begun taking measures to mitigate the damage of greenhouse gas-related global warming.

In an effort to both improve public health and reduce environmental impact, the state of California recently announced new laws that promise to drastically reduce and eventually eliminate diesel engine trucks statewide. Why the focus on diesel? For one thing, diesel vehicles produce more emissions per unit of fuel burned than gas vehicles. California lawmakers have made a few other vehicle-related decisions recently too. Keep reading for the full details.

What Are the Basics of California’s New Diesel Truck Ban?

California regulators have set a new law into motion that will make the sale of new diesel-burning semi-trucks illegal statewide by 2036. They’ve also put into law that all trucks registered in California must be zero-emissions by 2042.

The new law is the first of its kind in the world and includes all transport, commercial and garbage trucks as well as other heavy-duty vehicles. The new laws are collectively known as the “Advanced Clean Fleets rule.”

Why Is California Banning Diesel Trucks?

Air Pollution Crisis In City From Diesel Vehicle Exhaust Pipe On RoadTOA55/Getty Images

The main goal behind the Advanced Clean Fleets rule is to reduce airborne pollution. The nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists reports that although medium and heavy trucks make up only 1 in 10 vehicles on U.S. roads, they account for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions from human transport.

Big-rig trucks are currently responsible for over 25% of California’s diesel-related fine particle pollution, and one-third of the state’s nitrogen oxide emissions, according to the California Air Resources Board. In addition to helping the environment, reducing these damaging emissions as planned will improve California’s public health, too. Estimates put the state’s public health savings at over $26 million thanks to reduced pollution-related illness.

When Will This New Law Go Into Effect?

The new law mandates all Californian drayage trucks to be zero-emissions by 2035, and new ones sold need to be emission-free starting 2024. School buses and garbage trucks also need to be zero-emissions by 2027. Other vehicles covered by the new law must be replaced by electric or hydrogen models by no later than 2042.