Currently, the ACF Regulation does not provide clarity on how exemption requests are to be evaluated and decided upon.  -  Photo: Canva/Automotive Fleet

Currently, the ACF Regulation does not provide clarity on how exemption requests are to be evaluated and decided upon.

Photo: Canva/Automotive Fleet

NAFA Fleet Management Association responded to the introduction of a bill introduced to California state lawmakers, geared toward improving the compliance process for the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) Regulation.

The regulation sets targets for fleets to transition to zero emissions vehicles. It allows fleets to request exemptions granting compliance flexibility in cases where, for reasons beyond their control, fleets cannot meet the compliance timetables.

However, NAFA noted that the ACF does not provide clarity on how such exemption requests are to be evaluated and decided upon, nor does it provide a process for any administrative review of exemption request denials by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

The bill would address this, through the creation of an ACF Appeals Advisory Committee.

A Quick Primer on the ACF Regulation

Under the ACF regulation, fleets performing drayage operations, government fleets, and high priority fleets must begin the process of transitioning some of their vehicles to ZEVs.

According to the CARB website, high priority fleets are entities that own, operate, or direct at least one vehicle in California, and that have either $50 million or more in gross annual revenues, or that own, operate, or have common ownership or control of a total of 50 or more vehicles. This excludes light-duty package delivery vehicles.

At a glance, ACF requires the following from these fleets:

  • Drayage fleets: Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, trucks must be registered in the CARB Online System to conduct drayage activities in California. Non-zero-emission “legacy” drayage trucks may register in the CARB Online System through December 31, 2023.

    Legacy drayage trucks can continue to operate through their minimum useful life. As of Jan. 1, only zero-emission drayage trucks may register in the CARB Online System. All drayage trucks entering seaports and intermodal railyards would be required to be zero-emission by 2035.
  • High priority fleets: Must comply with the Model Year Schedule or may elect to use the optional ZEV Milestones Option to phase-in ZEVs into their fleets:
    • Model Year Schedule: Fleets must purchase only ZEVs beginning 2024 and, starting January 1, 2025, must remove internal combustion engine vehicles at the end of their useful life as specified in the regulation.
    • ZEV Milestones Option (Optional): Instead of the Model Year Schedule, fleets may elect to meet ZEV targets as a percentage of the total fleet starting with vehicle types that are most suitable for electrification.

It's important to note that this only applies to vehicles over 8,500 GVWR, known as Class 2b-Class 8 on-road vehicles.

You can find more information on the impact to drayage trucks from Heavy Duty Trucking, and more information on the impact to federal, state, and local government fleets on Government Fleet.

Additionally, auto manufacturers may sell only zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehcles starting in 2036.

About the New ACF Bill

SB1393, introduced by State Sen. Roger Niello and Assemblymember Juan Alanis, would establish an ACF Appeals Advisory Committee.

According to the text of the bill, the committee would be tasked with reviewing the appeals of denied requests for exemptions from the requirements of the ACF Regulation.

The bill would require the committee to include representatives of:

  • Specified state agencies
  • Other state and local government representatives
  • Private fleet owners
  • The electric vehicle manufacturing industry
  • Electrical corporations

The bill would also require:

  • Monthly meetings of the committee with publicly available recordings on the state board’s website
  • The committee to consider, and make a recommendation on, an appeal of an exemption request denial no later than 60 days after the appeal is made, with information relating to these considerations to be made publicly available
  • The state board to consider a recommendation of the committee at a public meeting no later than 60 days after the recommendation is made

NAFA's Response to the Legislation

In a news release, NAFA stated that it "appreciates [lawmakers'] attention to this critical issue and their constructive approach to improving the compliance process for the ACF." NAFA went on to state that it plans to work with legislators to advance the bill.

"NAFA and its members worked with California Air Resources Board staff to include greater compliance flexibility in the ACF as we work to decarbonize fleets and the important services they provide,” NAFA CEO Bill Schankel, CAE, said. “We thank Senator Niello and Assemblymember Alanis for introducing legislation to create the Advanced Clean Fleets Appeals Advisory Committee to provide greater clarity and transparency in the implementation of the ACF.”

These improvements to the ACF will ensure that fleets can continue to work diligently to decarbonize their operations and comply with the ACF without being penalized for factors beyond their control, NAFA stated.

"California’s trucking fleets are the backbone of today’s goods movement, yet California continues to move the goal post on emission standards,” Alanis said. “I’m proud to join Senator Niello on SB 1393, a common sense measure bringing together various stakeholders with a vested interest in meeting the states mandates while also ensuring due process.  I thank Senator Niello for his leadership on this issue.”

More Green Fleet Regulation Breakdowns: How Increased CAFE Standards Will Affect Fleets

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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