The Environmental Protection Agency last week decided to require truck manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission trucks over the next couple of decades.
"Under the Clean Air Act, California has longstanding authority to address pollution from cars and trucks," said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a statement. "[This decision] allows the state to take additional steps in reducing their transportation emissions through these new regulatory actions."
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at The Heritage Foundation, does not think one state should have the right to set standards for the rest of the country, but that is essentially what is happening; truck manufacturers will not make one model for California and diesel-powered models for the other states.
"Electric trucks are more expensive," Furchtgott-Roth notes. "They don't have as much range, and they will raise the cost of transportation. At a time when we have supply-side problems anyway, this is going to make them worse."
Governor Gavin Newsom (D) is excited about California's push to phase out diesel-powered trucks, as it is meant to cut down on emissions and improve air quality.
"We're leading the charge to get dirty trucks and buses – the most polluting vehicles – off our streets, and other states and countries are lining up to follow our lead," Newsom said in a statement.
Still, Furchtgott-Roth points out there are not many electric trucks in operation at the moment. By requiring them, California is banking on more of them being built. She compares it to "Field of Dreams."
"Regulate it, and it will come," she says.
The problem is there are many big disadvantages to that plan. Driving electric trucks will mean truck drivers will not be able to drive more than a set number of hours. Adding the time it will take to recharge the trucks will take away some of the hours of service that they currently use.
The increased cost of transportation, Furchtgott-Roth adds, will be passed on to consumers, which will add to inflation.