Colorado approves rules that require availability of zero-emission trucks

Updated May 2, 2023
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Colorado recently approved two rules designed to encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on April 21 approved a plan that would encourage the supply of medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold in the state to be battery-electric vehicles or vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel cells. The new rules begin in 2027. Their goal is to have 40% of all medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold in the state be powered by zero-emission engines by 2035.

However, the new rules do not require companies to purchase zero-emission trucks. Instead, it requires manufacturers to sell the vehicles in Colorado.

According to the Air Quality Control Commission:

  • "The Advanced Clean Trucks rule sets a sales standard for manufacturers to make more zero-emission trucks available in Colorado. It takes effect for trucks starting with model year 2027, and the sales standard percentage grows incrementally through model year 2035. This rule will only apply to manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. It does not impact farming equipment or off-road construction equipment. The sales standard does not require Colorado businesses or consumers to purchase a zero-emission truck."

The second rule approved by the commission says:

  • "The Low NOx Truck rule sets more stringent air pollution emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles, improves testing requirements for engines, and extends warranties. It takes effect for trucks starting with model year 2027. NOx refers to nitrogen oxides, which form ground-level ozone pollution when they react with other pollutants in heat and sunlight. The rule will lower the nitrogen oxide emissions standard for new vehicles by 90% compared to the current standard."

RELATED NEWS: California sets timeline requiring all trucks to be zero-emission

"By encouraging more zero-emitting trucks on the road, we take another step towards realizing clean air for all Coloradans no matter where they live,” said Michael Ogletree, director of the Department of Public Health and Evironment's Air Pollution Control Division. 

The Colorado Motor Carriers Association, reportedly said during hearings on the rules that it supports a transition to zero-emission vehicles but did not back the commission's plan. The association said the state's infrastructure cannot supply enough power to meet the charging needs of battery-electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks.