California wants to ban diesel trucks by 2036.

California wants to ban diesel trucks by 2036.

25 May 2023 BY Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

Forcing car manufacturers to find new and better environmental solutions is one thing, but wanting to eliminate one of the essential links in our society is another. California has always been known for having the strictest standards for greenhouse gas emissions, but the American state is about to take it a step further with the prohibition of diesel truck sales within its territory starting in 2036.


This news could disrupt the world of road transportation in the western United States since the majority of the goods consumed are transported by semi-trucks or diesel-operated transport trucks.


What California wants is to ban the sale of diesel trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 8,500 pounds, which also includes tractors and certain light-duty trucks. Needless to say, the news has not been well-received, especially among trucking companies and farmers who will have to turn to other solutions.


California made this decision because the industry allows it. Electric transport trucks are finally starting to enter the market, and some of the largest American companies like Walmart and Amazon have ordered several hundred units. However, it's hard to say if smaller businesses will be able to comply with these new regulations, as electric vehicles are currently much more expensive and do not offer the same range as diesel trucks.


2036 is still far away, and manufacturers have time to develop new technologies while also helping improve the infrastructure network to meet future demand.


The Snowball Effect


Many US states rely on California to establish their greenhouse gas rules. Therefore, now that California has spoken on the subject, it's highly likely that other states will also jump on board by banning the sale of diesel trucks in the distant future.


Fortunately, this gives plenty of time for businesses and consumers to react and adapt to this new reality. Furthermore, we are talking about a sales ban, which means that vehicles already on the road will also be allowed to continue operating. Thus, it will take many more years before California's automotive fleet becomes 100% electric if such a thing ever happens.


Viable Alternatives?


We must not forget that several manufacturers are working on different solutions, such as using hydrogen to produce electricity or as a direct fuel. This is what Cummins proposed a few months ago in its latest study on the subject. Other manufacturers are also working on the development of a biofuel that could simply replace gasoline or diesel. In short, I believe that electricity is not the only viable long-term solution, and that is why governments have chosen such distant dates.


Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

Author: Jean-Sébastien Poudrier