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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: California must do more than just mandate the use of zero-emission trucks

Tesla’s electric semi truck
Tesla chief Elon Musk steps out of a prototype electric truck during an unveiling event in Hawthorne on Nov. 16, 2017.
(Veronique Dupont / AFP/Getty Images )

To the editor: Your editorial on zero-emission trucks mentioned that heavy-duty diesel vehicles are the leading source smog-forming particles in Southern California. We are disproportionately harmed by the adverse health impacts caused by diesel emissions such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

If, as you say, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) plan would mean just 4% of the trucks on the road in 10 years will actually be zero emission, that raises the question of what will fuel the other 96% of trucks. Is CARB resigned to having the vast majority of trucks a decade from now continue to emit harmful diesel exhaust for our children to breathe?

And though the region’s ports have pledged to allow only zero-emission trucks by 2035, what are they actually doing to fulfill this pledge? The two ports will soon consider a cargo fee to raise funds to help replace the 8,000 diesel-fueled port trucks that will be banned under state law in 2023. But unless they establish a high enough fee and prohibit replacing the banned diesel trucks with new or used diesel trucks, we are no further toward that goal than before.

We must do what we can to end diesel now, or we will still be suffering the harms caused by diesel exhaust in 2035.

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Marc Carrel, Los Angeles

The writer is president and chief executive of the group BREATHE California of Los Angeles County.

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To the editor: Significant electrification of motor vehicles in Los Angeles County and throughout California over the next 10 years seems unlikely, contrary to hoopla over the comparatively high annual growth of electric car sales in the state.

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The Department of Motor Vehicles reports that as of Jan. 1, 2019, gasoline alone fuels almost 89% of vehicles operating in Los Angeles County. Battery electric accounts for a minuscule 0.8%.

Demand for heavy commercial trucks, along with the consumer preference for pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and other gas-guzzling cars, will probably sustain growth for internal combustion vehicles on California roads for at least the next decade.

Jim Valentine, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: Zero-emission trucks are a worthy idea, but their adoption would have unintended consequences.

During natural or man-made disasters, how would electric trucks fuel up to continue to perform crucial services? Gasoline and diesel are the only fuels that can power vehicle fleets during sustained outages, and they must remain available when disasters strike.

Mike Post, Winnetka


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