70+ companies just called for zero-emission trucks. Will legislators listen?

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More than 70 large companies and investors representing $30 billion in assets sent a letter today to governors across the US urging the acceleration of the switch to zero-emission trucks, vans, and other large commercial vehicles. Will their letter make an impact?

Zero-emission trucks

The signatories are calling on states to adopt the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule. The ACT rule requires manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to grow sales of zero-emission models by an increasing rate over time in the states where the policy is adopted. 

Nonprofit Environmental Advocates NY explains specifically what the ACT rule is:

In [June] 2020, the State of California adopted a groundbreaking rule requiring a certain percentage of medium and heavy-duty trucks sold in the state be zero emission vehicles (ZEV). Starting in 2024, the Advanced Clean Truck Rule directs manufacturers to gradually increase ZEV sales by vehicle class 30-50% by 2030 and 40-75% by 2035. 

The ACT rule is being considered in other states, including Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. The letter calls on these states and others to finalize and adopt the rule. 

The ACT rule would significantly expand clean truck sales across the US, with greater results as more states adopt the policy. It would also help grow EV charging infrastructure. 

The letter, which includes signatures from eBay, Nestle, Siemens, Unilever, and Ikea, was organized by sustainability nonprofit Ceres. Its opening paragraph states:

As major businesses, institutions, healthcare systems, employers, and investors with nearly $30 billion in assets under management, we write to express our strong support for adoption of the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule across states. The ACT rule will help bring down costs for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by requiring manufacturers to increase model availability to meet the needs of fleet operators and driving investment in clean transportation research and development. This will enable cost-effective electrification of commercial vehicles at the pace and scale needed to meet climate and air quality goals, while delivering public health and economic benefits for communities and businesses alike. 

Chelsey Evans, senior manager of sustainability at signatory Etsy said:

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are an essential part of the logistics networks that millions of Etsy sellers rely upon to deliver items to their buyers around the world, but these vehicles contribute disproportionately to air pollution and global warming emissions within the transportation sector.

Widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles, including through the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, is key to combating climate change and is directly linked to Etsy’s long-standing efforts to reduce the carbon impact of the logistics sector.

Electrek’s Take

Every amount of pressure helps, and $30 billion is a lot of assets. Hopefully this pooled corporate muscle will put just enough pressure on legislators to push the ACT rule forward.

It would reduce emissions, create jobs, improve health, stimulate the economy, and create equitable economic benefits for communities.

If you want to know where these companies’ campaign contributions are going, because that speaks even louder than a letter, you can check out Open Secrets. I did a quick search on the above companies, and it was nice to see that at first glance, it threw up nothing contradictory to what they’ve signed on for today.

Read more: Two Arizona companies partner to ramp up EV truck, battery production


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