On Tuesday, three state senators came to the State Capitol to call for a major investment to fund diesel free school buses, transit vehicles, and commercial medium and heavy duty trucks in an effort to make California diesel free by 2030.
State Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) were participating in CALSTART’s Clean Truck and Bus Day, which brought nine clean energy trucks and buses, and an EV school bus, to the Capitol East Lawn for public viewing. While diesel-fueled trucks and buses make up just 3 percent of the vehicles on California roads they produce 23 percent of transportation related greenhouse gas emissions and the majority of unhealthy air polluting emissions.
“Residents living near ports or along the freight corridors of I-80 and I-880 are particularly impacted by unhealthy diesel emissions,” said Skinner. “With the growing number of zero- and low- emission trucks and buses available today, it’s time to ditch diesel.”
As the Legislature prepares to enact this year’s Cap and Trade spending plan, Skinner and her Senate colleagues want Cap and Trade revenue paired with funding from the Carl Moyer Program (AB 8 Skinner/Perea) and other sources to make a nearly $1 billion investment in the retrofit and/or replacement of dirty diesel-fueled vehicles. The existing California Clean Truck and Bus Program (SB 1204 Lara), which includes the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP), can also assist in the implementation of this goal.
With high levels of particulate and NOx emissions, diesel-fueled vehicles are especially toxic. School buses are of particular concern because exhaust enters the bus cabin exposing children on their daily rides to asthma and cancer-causing pollutants.
“Thousands of California school buses still run on dirty diesel fuel,” said Skinner. “Our kids deserve a school bus ride that doesn’t hurt their lungs or damage their health.”
Increasing the funding available to replace and/or retrofit diesel-fueled buses and commercial trucks will also provide high-paying, clean energy jobs in California at such California-located manufacturers as Proterra, Motiv and BYD Motors.