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Coalition Dives Into 2018 With Two Clean Truck Bills, Focus on Inclusion

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February 12, 2018

When the California Legislature reconvened on Jan. 3, the Coalition was already at work on the first two clean transportation bills it is sponsoring in 2018. One is the Clean Truck Deployment Act, which increases weight limits for all alternative fuel vehicles. The other allows state fleets to use near-zero-emission natural gas vehicles to meet their requirements for clean vehicle purchases.

“This year, the Coalition is taking an aggressive tack with state legislation and regulatory agencies, and we want to make sure the alternative fuel industry as a whole is moving forward strategically,” said Coalition President Thomas Lawson. “We’re a part of the solution, and we’re making it a priority to be inclusive and work with other clean transportation sectors.”

The Clean Truck Deployment Act

The Clean Truck Deployment Act (AB 2061), written by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) and co-sponsored by CALSTART, is intended to put clean heavy-duty trucks on a competitive economic footing with gasoline and diesel trucks. It is a rewrite of SB 53, which aimed to allow natural gas vehicles to exceed the state’s weight allowance by 2,000 pounds. The new bill would extend the extra weight allowance to all clean heavy-duty trucks, including electric and hydrogen as well as natural gas vehicles.

The legislation mirrors the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, which has modified truck size and weight provisions to compensate for the heavier fuel and tank systems of NGVs. Twenty-four states have also passed legislation allowing that additional weight in heavy-duty NGVs, but only one, Colorado, has fuel-neutral legislation.

New Bill Would Encourage NGVs in State Fleets

The second bill the Coalition is sponsoring is a response to 2017’s AB 739, which mandates that at least 15 percent of all state-purchased heavy-duty vehicles be zero emission by Dec. 31, 2025, and at least 30 percent by Dec. 31, 2030. The Coalition opposed the bill because it didn’t include near-zero-emission vehicles as an option for meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals; it passed last fall without the Coalition’s suggested amendments.

AB 2506, which Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Marina del Rey) is authoring, would allow state fleets to include near-zero-emission vehicles of 19,000 pounds or more in their mandated clean vehicle fleets.

“As public fleets are transitioned to cleaner alternatives, it’s important that they have the flexibility to choose the alternative fuel that best suits a particular application. They should be able to spend taxpayer dollars in the most effective and cost-efficient way,” said Lawson.

2018 Focus on Encouraging Business Voices

Advocating for these nascent bills is the Coalition’s first step in its plan for this year, which includes sponsoring near-zero-emission legislation and engaging intensively with state legislators. Lawson encourages Coalition members to write letters of support for the two co-sponsored bills and a letter opposing AB 1745. (Here is a sample letter of opposition to use, with assemblymembers’ names and addresses.)

“In 2018, everyone needs to be involved to ensure the success of our goals—involvement may be different for each member, but everyone has a compelling story to tell about the role NGVs play in helping California meet its air quality goals,” he said.

“Legislators will pay attention to the companies directly involved in the day-to-day operations of producing cleaner fuels and vehicles.”


Photo ©Westport Innovations, used by permission

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