Gov. Newsom and legislators celebrated last week when the incredibly powerful state Air Resources Control board decreed that 18-wheeler trucks powered by fossil fuels can no longer be sold here after 2040. That’s five years later than the ban on gasoline/diesel-powered cars that was enacted in August.
It’s all done in the name of climate change and reducing carbon emissions. What it misses is that California’s emissions are less than a rounding error after the decimal point in the world-wide picture. The governor, like his predecessor, would tout leadership without looking around the world at the economic and human disasters that have been wrought in the same pursuit. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel shut down their nuclear power and got in bed with Russia for natural gas. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany was burning wood chips to generate electricity.
Now, her successor is being held hostage by Russia because of the natural gas and the pipeline that Merkel approved.
In California, the situation is equally dire—without the prospect of war.
Trucks, whether long-haul or local delivery—keep the consumer-based economy going. Walmart supplies its Bay Area stores from a huge depot in Red Bluff, while Safeway, like many other retailers serves its stores from a sprawling complex in Tracy. The distribution centers, for the most part, are located in counties on the periphery of Bay Area.
It may be possible for an electric truck to have the battery capability to serve from Tracy, but what happens on one of those days when I-580 becomes a parking lot on a cold day that sucks battery power? Portable rechargers to add juice to stalled big rigs?
Throw in the cost. I saw one trucker interviewed and, with a 50% subsidy from us taxpayers, it would still cost him more than $250k for an electric tractor, a cool 50% more than for a diesel cab. Think of all of those trucks. Gasoline and diesel prices have soared because of Biden administration policy—not shortages.
And where are the charging stations that run at 220 volts and are reliable. The pork-laden infrastructure bill passed by Washington D.C. contains lots of money for charging stations, lots more will be required. And, as Dublin Councilman Sean Kumagai said during his debate for the 20th Assembly seat, he lives in a complex without assigned parking so how is he supposed to charge his electric vehicle?
Technology has to improve dramatically for the state to have power once the sun goes down and the wind dies down. Remember the travesty of banning gas-powered cars the same week that the state government encourages owners of electric vehicles not to charge them because of heat-driven power demands.
Add to the mix that PG&E ‘s grid is notably unreliable and the utility is tapping ratepayer dollars to underground high voltage lines to lessen wildfire danger and you’ve got to ask where’s the adult in the room.
Newsom and his allies are jousting at world-wide climate gremlins while there’s no reliable power—green or otherwise—at home.