Regulations aimed at tailpipe pollution by cars and trucks are getting tougher. On April 28, the California Air Resources Board is expected to approve its Advanced Clean Fleets rule, which would transform the state’s trucking industry to zero-emissions vehicles in stages. By 2036, all new medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks sold must be zero emissions. The rule requires big companies — those with 50 or more trucks — to convert 100% of their existing fleets to zero emissions by 2042. UCLA experts weigh in.

For the climate, and for health

Julia Stein
Stein is deputy director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law and supervising attorney for the school’s Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic. She’s an expert on environmental litigation, regulations and legislation. She was previously senior counsel at Cox, Castle and Nicholson LLP.

“The transportation sector accounts for nearly half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the trucks this rule regulates are some of the worst offenders. But beyond their climate impacts, these vehicles are responsible for much of the pollution that causes our state’s infamous smog — pollution that disproportionately visits respiratory and cardiovascular disease upon the low-income communities of color living near California’s ports, warehouses and distribution centers. This rule won’t just help us achieve our climate goals; it will make our communities healthier.”

Where California leads, other states will follow

Cara Horowitz
Horowitz is executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law and an expert on legal and policy solutions to climate change and related environmental issues. She was formerly a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“This rule is about much more than trucks in California. California’s previous clean car rules have now been adopted by 17 other states, representing more than a third of the U.S. car market. The federal government also often follows California’s lead on emission standards. I expect this rule to be another model for the country. When California shows what’s possible, other jurisdictions follow.”

Protecting vulnerable populations

Yifang Zhu
Zhu has expertise in air pollution, climate change, environmental exposure assessment and aerosols. She is senior associate dean for academic programs at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, where she is also a professor in the department of environmental health sciences.

“The California Air Resources Board’s action to achieve a zero-emission truck and bus fleet by 2042 is a commendable step towards achieving environmental justice in California. By prioritizing the transition to a medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission fleet, CARB is addressing the unjust burden of exposures to truck emissions and associated health risks for communities living near freeways. This effort is crucial for protecting the health of vulnerable populations and ensuring a cleaner transportation system.”