By Andrew Littlefair on

California voters living in areas impacted by pollution from commercial vehicles are in favor of immediately deploying near-zero heavy-duty trucks to combat harmful emissions and will look to a zero-emission solution once it’s ready to deploy on a larger scale.

A survey commissioned by the Coalition for Clean Air (CCA) found that an overwhelming 90 percent of voters have no clear preference regarding near-zero trucks fueled by renewable natural gas (RNG) fuel, or zero-emissions electric vehicles.

“The results show that most people living in areas with diminished air quality produced by heavy-duty trucks are less concerned about which solution is implemented, and far more anxious to immediately reduce the harmful health hazards produced by diesel trucks,” said Ashley White, director and head of corporate sustainability, Clean Energy. “Instead of having to choose, the majority of voters in high impact zones support both policies that will help to reduce air pollution.”

The transportation sector is responsible for about 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and more than 80 percent of the state’s NOx, or smog-forming emissions. Making the switch from diesel to near-zero RNG trucks is vital to achieving the state’s GHG reduction goals and cleaning the air around California’s transportation corridors. Near-zero engines are certified by the EPA and California Air Resource Board to have 90 percent lower emissions of smog-forming NOx than today’s heavy-duty engine standard. Studies by the University of California, Riverside have found that NOx emissions from near zero engines are 99 percent cleaner than in-use diesel engines.

When near-zero emission trucks are fueled by RNG, GHG emissions can be reduced by 60 to 400 percent. In 2017, over 67 percent of natural gas fleet fuel consumption in California was with RNG, and this number is expected to climb to about 90 percent by the end of this year.

“While the debate over near-zero or zero-emission vehicles continues, one thing is clear. California residents who are impacted by harmful toxins from heavy-duty trucks are looking for relief now,” said White. “We need immediate adoption of the cleanest, most viable option available today, and that is zero-emissions natural gas vehicles.”

Conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates (FM3), the survey also presented these key findings:

  1. Respondents in areas with high concentrations of heavy-duty trucks— the CA-99 corridor, the I-170 corridor, in the Inland Empire, and in West Oakland—had different attitudes about pollution, as they feel their families are being negatively impacted.
  2. Nine in 10 voters across the state view gasoline-powered cars and trucks, particularly large commercial trucks and semis, are the main source of pollution.
  3. Over half the voters said they are willing to pay additional costs to reduce pollution in their communities.

To read more about the survey results, click here.