Following the trend of a number of countries, including the state of California and Canada, New York has passed legislation requiring that by 2035, 100% of passenger trucks and cars sold or leased in the state be zero-emission vehicles, with Governor Kathy Hochul signing the bill just a few days ago. By 2035, the Act sets a similar target for off-road equipment and vehicles. By 2045, all medium- as well as heavy-duty trucks leased or sold in the state must be zero-emission vehicles “for all operations whenever practicable,” according to the law.
“New York is adopting the nation’s most assertive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions impacting our climate,” Governor Hochul stated in a statement. “To meet our ambitious objectives, we must cut pollution from the transportation sector, which is currently the state’s largest source of climate pollution.” “The new law and rules are a significant step forward in our efforts and will assist in accelerating the transition to green electric vehicles while also reducing emissions in regions that have long been afflicted by pollution from trucks and cars.”
The signed legislation, on the other hand, is more similar to a policy document or executive order in that it directs a state agency—specifically, the Department of Environmental Conservation—to recommend regulations requiring rising volumes of zero-emission cars to be offered for sale, to reach 100 percent by 2035. The law basically requires state agencies to transition out sales of gas and diesel-powered automobiles and trucks by a particular date by agency rulemaking, which has yet to be implemented.
As written, the bill lacks enforcement measures and precise procedures that agencies will require to take to phase in zero-emission car sales. In effect, no matching state agency policies have been implemented to actively encourage or (maybe more importantly) aggressively discourage sales of internal combustion vehicles at the dealer level. More legislation and agency rulemaking will be required, as well as enforcement tools.
The law also mandates the development of a zero-emission vehicle strategy by 2023, which will be used by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to design programs and regulations to encourage EV sales.
“The proposed law would force truck manufacturers to shift to clean, electric zero-emission vehicles, utilizing California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule as the blueprint,” the governor’s office stated in a statement. “Beginning with the model year 2025, truck manufacturers would be compelled to fulfill a set annual sales proportion of zero-emission trucks that would vary by vehicle weight class. At least 55% of all future Class 2b-3 pickup vans and trucks, 75% of all future Class 4-8 trucks, and 40% of all future Class 7-8 tractors purchased in New York State is going to be zero-emission by the 2035 model year. The proposed regulation gives medium- as well as heavy-duty truck makers a variety of compliance choices and would only require one-time reporting from truck fleets that are affected.”