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In the Media

California Trucking Association Challenges CARB's Diesel Truck Ban in Court 

October 19, 2023

In a recent development with significant implications for the trucking industry, the California Trucking Association (CTA) has taken legal action to challenge the latest regulations from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), aimed at phasing out diesel trucks within the state. The lawsuit, filed on October 16, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, seeks to block CARB's Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) rule, which mandates the transition to zero-emission vehicles within the commercial trucking sector.

CARB's Ambitious Plan

Under CARB's ACF rule, all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold or registered in California must be zero-emission by 2036, with a subsequent requirement that all trucks in the state must achieve zero-emission status by 2042. Additionally, starting in 2024, only zero-emission drayage trucks can be newly registered in CARB's online system. Legacy internal combustion engine trucks can continue to operate, provided they register with CARB by December 31, 2023, and adhere to their minimum useful life.

Legal Challenge by CTA

In its legal challenge, CTA acknowledges CARB's goal of reducing tailpipe emissions from commercial vehicles but argues that the ACF regulations go too far. CTA CEO Eric Sauer has highlighted concerns about inadequate planning and coordination with other state agencies, a lack of infrastructure, unrealistic timelines, and violations of federal laws within the ACF rule.

Diesel Direct's Role in Fuel Delivery

As a leading provider of diesel fuel services, Diesel Direct understands the challenges faced by the trucking industry in achieving cleaner transportation while maintaining operational efficiency. Our services encompass on-site diesel fueling, mobile fueling services, and bulk diesel fuel delivery. We also offer fuel card programs to streamline fleet fuel management, ensuring that your vehicles have access to high-quality diesel fuel wherever they operate.

Support for the Trucking Industry

Diesel Direct has been a longtime supporter of the trucking industry's efforts to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. We provide sustainable fueling options and work closely with fleets to optimize their fueling processes. Our commitment to fuel quality control and cost-effective fueling solutions aligns with the industry's drive for cleaner, more efficient transportation.

Broad Industry Support

It's worth noting that CTA's legal action has garnered support from other industry organizations. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) share concerns about the ACF rule's potential impact.

OOIDA emphasizes the importance of achieving cleaner air without imposing costly and unattainable regulations. Such rules can disproportionately affect small business truckers who may struggle to adapt to untested and unreliable equipment. Larger companies, in contrast, may have more resources to cope with these challenges.

ATA, which has a history of supporting emissions improvements, echoes the sentiment that the ACF rule's requirements may be unachievable and could disrupt supply chains.

Legal Grounds for the Lawsuit

CTA's lawsuit is founded on several key legal arguments, including preemption under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (F4A). The ACF rule's extraterritorial effect, impacting trucks outside California, could potentially disrupt both national and international trade, with potential consequences such as job losses and supply chain disruptions.

Additionally, CTA argues that CARB cannot enforce ACF without a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has not been granted. CTA contends that ACF does not meet the waiver requirements under the CAA.

Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the ACF rule violates the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents states from enforcing laws that burden interstate commerce.

Looking Ahead

The outcome of this legal battle will have significant implications for the trucking industry, environmental policies, and the broader economy. As Diesel Direct and other industry stakeholders closely monitor the progress of the lawsuit and CARB's response, we recognize that the results will shape the future of transportation in California and beyond. We remain committed to providing efficient and responsible fuel services while supporting initiatives that balance environmental concerns with the practical realities of the trucking world.