Bill in California Assembly would increase weight limits for zero- and near-zero-emission vehicles to make them more competitive
California State Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, has introduced legislation (AB 2061) that would increase the weight limits for zero-emission and near-zero-emission vehicles so they can compete on an equal playing field with diesel- and gasoline-powered units.
The engine and propulsion systems in electric, hydrogen and natural gas powered trucks weigh more than the traditional internal combustion engine by as much as 2,000 pounds. These cleaner energy trucks currently have to reduce their carrying capacity in order to comply with state weight laws, providing a disincentive for businesses to invest in cleaner trucks, Frazier said.
To counter this, AB 2061 stipulates that:
A near-zero-emission or zero-emission vehicle may exceed axle, tandem, gross, or bridge formula weight limits by an amount, not to exceed a maximum of 2,000 pounds, that is equal to the difference between the weight of the vehicle attributable to the fueling system carried by that vehicle and the weight of a comparable diesel tank and fueling system.
Research by the California Air Resources Board finds that transportation accounts for nearly 40% of all of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Diesel and gasoline big rigs and other heavy-duty trucks are the most concentrated source, making up only 3% of the vehicles on the road but accounting for 23% of transportation emissions.
Major transportation corridors tend to run next to lower-income and disadvantaged communities and the pollution from these trucks disproportionately impacts this segment of our population. The issue is also one of environmental justice. Our obligation to protect all Californians makes it even more imperative to speed up replacing dirty trucks with cleaner ones.—Jim Frazier
AB 2061 is supported by the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, CALSTART, San Diego County Disposal Association, Clean Energy and Tesla.