Trucks Insights: California
The California Air Resources Board is currently working on a bill to phase out diesel trucks by 2030. This new regulation would significantly affect the 1.5 million medium and heavy-duty diesel vehicles operating on Californian roads.
Number of Trucks Operating in California
- A total of 6,052,820 trucks were registered with the Californian Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as of December 2019.
- There were a total of 1,105,275 new light truck registrations in 2019, according to the Califonian New Car Dealership Association (CNCDA). Overall, about 10.5% of vehicles operating in California are pickup trucks.
- There are about 1.5 million medium and heavy-duty trucks operating in California.
- According to a study by the Californian Environmental Protection Agency, there were over 300,000 Class 8 vehicles operating in the state in 2014.
- The EPA report further provided a breakdown of the population of trucks in the state of California by class. A total of 280,000 Class 2b trucks; 300,000 Class 3 trucks; 175,000 Class 4 trucks; 80,000 Class 5 trucks; 160,000 Class 6 trucks; and 140,000 Class 7 trucks operate in California.
- According to a recent report by Diesel Forum, 97% of Class 8 trucks and 75% of all commercial vehicles operating in the US are powered by diesel fuel.
- Generally, vehicles on the higher end of the classification tend to rely on diesel to power their engines. About 60% of Class 2-3 vans and pickups in California use gasoline, 39% use diesel, and 1% of the vehicles in this class use other fuel types.
- For Class 3–8 work trucks, 35% rely on gasoline, 64% rely on diesel fuel, while the rest 1% use other forms of fuel. For heavy-duty Class 8 vehicles operating in California, such as tractors and OTR trucks, over 98% of those vehicles rely on diesel fuel to power their engines, while the rest 2% rely on alternative fuels such as gasoline and natural gas.
Gradual Phase Out of Diesel trucks
- The California Air Resources Board is currently considering a draft to reduce the number of diesel trucks on Californian roads by 2030. At the same time, the draft seeks to accelerate the transition of medium and heavy-duty tracks to zero-emission vehicles.
- According to the proposed regulation, manufacturers of class 2b — Class 8 vehicles would be required to offer zero-emission trucks at an increasing percentage of their Californian annual sales from 2024 to 2030. At the end of the transition period, 50% of new Class 4–8 vehicles designed for use in the state must be certified emission-free.
- In recent times, Californian consumers have maintained their preference for light trucks and SUVs over compact cars. At the end of 2019, 58.4% of new light-vehicle registrations were for light trucks, while 41.6% of new registrations were for cars.
- The top three truck pickup brands in California by market share are Toyota (27.3%), Ford (23.7%), and Chevrolet (21.7%).
To obtain qualitative and quantitative insights into the truck market in California, we first reviewed official reports shared by governmental agencies, industry reports and studies, and news articles published within the last two years. Utilizing this approach, we were able to obtain several insights into the current state of trucks in California. However, no credible resource provided any relevant information on the break down of Class 1–8 vehicles operating in the state or the type of fuel used by each class of vehicles.
Next, we decided to expand our search beyond the two-year standard search period. Here, we were able to identify a 2014 report published by the California Environmental Protection Agency and Air Resources Board which provides a complete breakdown of the classes of trucks used in California as well as the fuel type for each. The 2014 report is the latest available report on the topic and is still being referenced by several recent studies.