Representatives from the Clean Freight Coalition (CFC), of which NATSO is a member, met with officials from the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) July 26 to discuss the challenges and opportunities of transitioning the nation's commercial truck fleet to low- and zero-emission vehicles.
Sapp Bros. Chief Executive Officer Andy Richard attended the meetings on behalf of NATSO.
The CFC urged the Joint Office to consider the heavy-duty sector when granting federal funds. CFC cites a massive infrastructure gap as one of the largest hurdles to a seamless transition away from carbon-based fuels—one that policymakers need to focus on now.
Richard urged lawmakers to take a technology-neutral approach to decarbonizing transportation emissions rather than focus exclusively on electrification of commercial trucks. Richard also highlighted the need for tax parity between biofuels and urged lawmakers to refrain from favoring sustainable aviation fuel over ground transportation biofuels, which have been in use for decades.
“Policies shouldn’t ignore the lower-carbon fuels that are at our disposal today," said Andy Richard, Chief Executive Officer of Sapp Bros. "A market-driven, technology-neutral approach will advance the adoption of alternative fuels without picking winners and losers. Biodiesel and renewable diesel represent the best option that fleets have today to reduce their carbon emissions, and this will be the case for the foreseeable future. The right policies will encourage fuel retailers to make these investments without sacrificing efforts on electrification, hydrogen or other next-generation fuels."
The first meeting between CFC and the Joint Office comes as emerging state and federal regulations aim to push the transportation sector toward decarbonization.
The Joint Office was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to facilitate collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation on deploying a network of electric vehicle chargers and zero-emission fueling infrastructure. As an alliance of freight transportation stakeholders committed to a zero-emission future, the CFC launched in March to educate policymakers on these issues.
"One of the fatal flaws in California's electric-truck mandates is that the infrastructure buildout is lightyears behind the hyper-aggressive timelines set forth in regulation," said CFC Executive Director Jim Mullen. "By trying to force the trucking industry to electrify without the charging infrastructure and power capacity that will be required, the state is setting trucking and the supply chain up for failure,” said Mullen. “That's why in our meeting with the Joint Office today we stressed why EPA should not propose ZEV-dependent rules prior to ensuring the necessary resources are actually in place."
In order to realize the scalable deployment of medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric trucks envisioned by EPA’s GHG3 rulemaking, 15,625 chargers would have to be installed every month between now and 2032, according to a Ricardo analysis. To date, no state has directed any National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) grant program funds to medium- and heavy-duty charging infrastructure.
For charging to be compatible with complex truck driving schedules, charging will have to take place at existing truck parking locations along interstate routes, yet the industry already faces a chronic, nationwide shortage of commercial truck parking.
"We need to get this right, which frankly the consequences are too great," said Dan Van Alstine, Chairman of the American Trucking Associations and President and Chief Operating Officer at Ruan Transportation Management Systems. "It's critical that any regulatory framework is connected to the realities of trucking operations. That is the key to success, and that is why we are here in Washington having these conversations today.”
“The trucking industry needs adequate lead times across all market segments to ensure these vehicles are affordable and supported by the necessary infrastructure,” said Scott McCandless, Chairman of the American Truck Dealers. “It is troubling that government is pushing the regulation of zero-emission vehicles in a way that could slow down rather than accelerate the adoption by truck customers.”
“The ‘essentiality’ of trucking to the supply chain became quite obvious during the pandemic. and our members remain committed to keeping America moving,” said Truckload Carriers Association President Jim Ward. “To continue providing the quality of service the general public has come to expect, motor carriers must have reliable, affordable, and safe equipment available to them.”
“The entire transportation ecosystem is at risk,” stated Ryan Streblow, President & CEO of the National Tank Truck Carriers. “The tank truck industry envisions low and zero emission commercial trucks, but current timelines and goals must account for technology availability, affordability, infrastructure overall, and a scalable energy source.”
The CFC will also met with the following lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss concerns over EPA’s GHG3 rulemaking and to urge repeal of the federal excise tax, which would provide dramatic and immediate emissions reductions by helping turnover the nations aging truck fleet with today’s cleaner and safer models:
- Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE); member of the Environment and Public Works Committee; ranking member of the Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee
- Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE); member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
- Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR); member of the Ways and Means Committee
- Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC); member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Subscribe to Updates
NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.