- Trucking industry associations formed a coalition last week to lobby for a path to zero emissions that “assures affordable and reliable freight transportation and protects the nation's supply chain.”
- The Clean Freight Coalition’s founding members are the American Trucking Associations; the American Truck Dealers, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association; the National Tank Truck Carriers; the Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association; and the Truckload Carriers Association.
- The coalition supports a transition to cleaner vehicles, but it plans to push back on unrealistic timelines, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear told Transport Dive in an interview. “We're not saying no. But we are trying to inject some common sense, because ... our ability to service the economy is going to be compromised. And that narrative has to get loud right now.”
The trucking groups founded the coalition, headed by former Acting Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Jim Mullen, to educate policy makers on the industry’s progress in reducing emissions and promote the work underway by the freight transportation sector.
But the industry also needs to communicate its concerns with zero-emissions timelines put forth by the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency, Spear said. The Biden administration last fall joined an international commitment to shift all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales to zero-emissions by 2040.
The American Transportation Research Institute, the ATA’s research arm, noted in a report that electrifying long-haul truck runs alone on today’s roadways would require about a tenth of the nation’s power generation.
“We do not have, for electric, the power on the grid to power our fleets,” Spear said. “We don’t have the infrastructure to plug into, even if the power were available. There’s simply not enough infrastructure in place for this timeline to be met.
“Beyond that, we do not have, as a nation, a policy that allows the sourcing of the key materials to build the kind of zero emissions capability that’s envisioned,” the ATA president added.
Trucking OEMs are leading the way to cleaner air through investment, innovation and engineering, EMA President Jed Mandel said in a statement.
“EMA members are dedicating billions of R&D dollars towards a ZEV future,” Mandel said. “But those investments won’t be enough on their own — we also need state and federal leaders to commit to building the essential infrastructures for those vehicles to operate nationwide.”
The key to successfully adopting zero-emissions technology will lie in “establishing a realistic timeline and multiple-solution approach that ensures productivity for drivers and reliability within the supply chain for consumers,” Truckload Carriers Association President Jim Ward said in a statement.
“For this to happen, we need carrier involvement in all stages of the testing process to help identify operational challenges on the ground,” Ward said. “All modes of our industry stand ready to work together to prepare for this essential transition."