California Faces Lawsuit Regarding Electric Truck Mandate

California’s Advanced Clean Fleets program is facing yet another lawsuit, this time from Associated Equipment Dealers and the American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce.

The lawsuit points out that the law is a gross overreach of California’s regulatory territory, as any company that operates a truck in California, even for a single day, would be subject to the law. This would not only target shipping companies but truck rental services and moving vehicles as well.

California’s Advanced Clean Fleets program is regulated by the California Air Resources Board, (CARB) the program states that any company performing drayage operations in the state and has either $50 million or more in gross annual revenue or owns 50 or more vehicles must begin converting their entire fleets to electric vehicles in 2024.

“The rule is extraterritorial, burdensome, and impractical. It is riddled with exemptions that allow CARB to micro-manage fleets and play favorites, one vehicle at a time,” the lawsuit states.

This isn’t the only litigation that CARB is facing.

A different lawsuit by the California Trucking Association (CTA) filed Oct. 16 with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California says that the law “expands California’s regulatory authority well beyond its borders and establishes such untenable mandates that CARB itself has already been compelled to informally promise certain provisions will not be enforced.”

“Litigation was not our desired path concerning the industry’s transition to zero emissions, but conflict was inevitable once it became clear that CARB embraced a make-believe view of what could be accomplished with today’s technology and infrastructure,” CTA said. “In doing so, the agency violated multiple state and federal laws and, accordingly, these issues will be brought before the courts by CTA and multiple other entities.”

Besides the issue of overreach when it comes to out-of-state operations, the law isn’t even reasonable for operations within the state.

The biggest problem with the law is that companies just can’t keep up. Between the need for charging infrastructure, the price and unavailability of the vehicles, and the fact that they just aren’t as efficient, the requirements will likely put smaller companies — which are responsible for the majority of California’s transportation needs — out of business.

“I’m not a hardcore diesel truck man. I’m not married to the idea of an internal combustion engine,” says David Gurrola Jr., an owner-operator who hauls mostly scrap metal and recycled paper between the Port of Long Beach and San Diego. “I just need a chance for the technology to catch up to the needs of the people.”

California already has an energy deficit and is the top importer of energy from elsewhere in the entire country. Even if the necessary charging stations and vehicles appeared overnight, the state’s energy grid likely wouldn’t handle it well.

In addition to all of the other problems, electric trucks are just less time-efficient. Charging stops take hours out of the day, and truckers can’t travel as far on a full battery as they could on a tank of diesel fuel. This can ultimately cut the amount of work that a trucker can accomplish in a day by around two-thirds.

California’s laws also heavily impact the national supply chain. With huge portions of the nation’s produce grown in the state’s balmy climate, and the numerous west coast shipping ports responsible for most of our country’s trade with Asia, Californians won’t be the only Americans paying the price.

And the rules don’t even result in much cleaner energy use and production. California will have to hire fossil-fuel-burning contractors to put in electric chargers to fuel batteries made of fossil-fuel-mined materials with energy from fossil-fuel-burning power plants.

And unfortunately for the rest of the country, California’s insane regulations affect us all. If we’re lucky, the courts will rule in favor of the average consumer instead of the activists. If they don’t, get ready for supply chain issues and price increases that will shake the country to its core.