More than a decade ago, when the low-carbon fuel standard launched in California, its success was thwarted with various legal battles. Now it’s the de facto global standard in decarbonizing freight and logistics by going after the upstream producers and importers of diesel and oil. Clean air regulators have to play the long game with short-term updates, the latest of which comes from New Jersey, the most recent state to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule.
“It’s a requirement from OEMs and truck sellers to have options to sell zero-emission vehicles to the heavy-duty industry starting at a certain date,” said Tyler Cole, FreightWaves’ director of carbon intelligence. “In New Jersey, they have three years to start selling these zero-emission vehicles into their sales channels. They’ve got 10 years after that (2035) for a percentage (40-70%) of sales coming from zero-emissions vehicles.”
Cole added that this movement sends a demand signal to OEMs, truck buyers and large fleets across the country, especially those in the Midwest and South. However, as the adoption of these technologies surges, the question of capacity arises, whether there is enough fuel to meet the imminent demand.
“How does what has happened in New Jersey send a demand signal for electric vehicles and also potentially mute the demand signals for alternative fuels or impact the need for them in the near term?” asked Danny Gomez, FreightWaves’ managing director of financial and emerging markets. “It does worry me that technologies that will be dominant in 10 or 15 years from now are getting a lot of headlines versus the things that are in front of us now like empty miles. With Convoy’s campaign on empty miles, they’ve done a really good job of pushing the message of efficiency and the current waste in the system as something that needs to be worked on now.”