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Navigating Advanced Clean Fleets and CARB Compliance

J.B. Hunt tuck driving on a bridge over a river

Earlier this year, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) passed the Advanced Clean Fleets rule (ACF), which requires fleets operating in California to adopt zero-emission vehicle technology. This new regulation joins CARB’s new Clean Truck Check (CTC) emissions monitoring and Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) cold storage emissions regulations. With pending litigation, some of the CARB timelines for reporting and enforcement may change, however, we are prepared to comply with and operate under the rules as they are currently stated.

We know sustainability is a priority for our customers, but understanding the ins and outs of regulatory programs like this can be difficult. Non-compliance with ACF, CTC and TRU can come with hefty fines, and you could lose your ability to operate fleets in California. Come the new year, your business may have to purchase only zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and zero-emission TRUs, as well as regularly test all vehicles in order to operate in California and avoid fines – and sourcing ZEVs and refrigerated equipment can be a difficult and expensive task. 

With over 62 years of industry experience and our access to a wide range of capacity options, J.B. Hunt can help you navigate CARB compliance and build a supply chain that creates value for your business. Keep reading for a high-level overview of the ACF, CTC and TRU rules and how J.B. Hunt can help you with compliance! 

More detailed information on California’s regulations can be found on the CARB website:  

Learn how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint

What is the Advanced Clean Fleets rule and who must comply? 

The Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) rule is an ambitious regulatory program aimed at accelerating the adoption of zero-emission technology across fleets operating in California. Under ACF, fleets of a certain size (see chart below) must ensure that a certain percentage of their vehicles are zero-emission. Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) include electric semi-trucks and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. 

Any carrier or organization of a certain size that operates fleets in California must be compliant with ACF for all vehicles that are 8,501+ GVWR. Organizations that must be compliant with ACF fall into three categories:

High Priority and Federal Fleets

  • Any fleet with $50 million or more in annual revenue
  • Any fleet with 50 or more vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 8,500 pounds (including independent contractors)
  • Any broker, motor carrier or shipper that hires and directs the operation of vehicles in California

Drayage Fleets

  • All class 7 and 8 on-road vehicles that transport containers and bulk goods to and from seaports and intermodal railyards

State and Local Government Fleets

  • Fleets owned by state, local and federal government agencies, including city, county, special district and state agency fleets 

What is the Clean Truck Check Program and who must comply?

CTC requires fleets to register all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with CARB and complete regular testing to demonstrate that their engines have properly functioning emissions control systems. Any emissions system issues must be repaired. All non-gasoline, non-zero-emission vehicles over 14,000 lbs. GVWR must have passing emissions tests recorded at CARB. For 2024, testing will be required once. Starting in 2025, testing will be required twice per year, ramping up to four times per year in July 2027. Brokers and freight contractors must verify compliance with CTC prior to working with motor carriers or independent contractors. 

What is the Transport Refrigeration Unit Rule and who must comply?

CARB updated its TRU regulation in 2022 to require that TRUs of all sizes meet emission standards for their engines and refrigerant. Truck TRUs must also phase in zero-emission technology, starting in 2023. Fleets must register all TRUs that operate in California, affix compliance labels and meet CARB’s timelines for compliance. Refrigerated facilities may also be required to register and verify that all entering TRUs are compliant with CARB, depending on square footage. Brokers and hiring entities must verify compliance with TRU, if applicable, prior to working with motor carriers or independent contractors.

Interstate Operations

It’s important to note that the ACF, CTC and TRU rules affect fleets that operate in California, not just the fleets of California-based organizations. That means if you fall into one of the regulated categories above, and you drive a truck or refrigerated equipment just one mile inside the California border, you must be compliant with CARB’s rules.

What happens if a fleet is not compliant with CARB regulations?  

Fleets that are not compliant with CARB regulations may face large fines and could lose their ability to operate in California. For example, fleets that are not compliant with ACF may not legally operate in California and could incur fines up to $10,000 per day per vehicle. 

How do I make sure my business is compliant? 

Sustainability is a top priority for J.B. Hunt, and we have created a multi-year plan to ensure we are ACF, CTC and TRU compliant. So when you ship with J.B. Hunt, you don’t have to worry about CARB compliance. You can verify J.B. Hunt’s CARB compliance here. Through J.B. Hunt, you get access to any type of capacity at scale and on demand through our vast array of multimodal service offerings. In addition, you get peace of mind that you’re shipping with a CARB-compliant carrier.

If your business has a fleet of its own, consider private fleet management through our J.B. Hunt Dedicated Contract Services® team. We can help you build a fleet that’s CARB compliant and creates value for your business. ZEVs are not as readily available as diesel trucks, making it hard for private fleets and many carriers to secure the equipment they need. As a result, sourcing problems may cause compliance issues for many companies. But J.B. Hunt has connections with major manufacturers and is positioned to deploy ZEVs for your business. Whether you want to start building an all-ZEV fleet today, or gradually phase them in, we’ve got you covered! 

And if you’re looking for additional ways to make your supply chain more sustainable, J.B. Hunt offers highway to intermodal conversion. Shipping with intermodal reduces a shipment's carbon footprint by an average of 60% compared to over-the-road truck transportation. In 2022, 3.6 million metric tons of CO2e emissions were avoided by converting over-the-road loads to J.B. Hunt intermodal.

People You Trust

Since ACF was put into place, twelve other states have either adopted or expressed an intent to adopt similar legislation. Our industry expertise and the size and scale of our fleets put us in a unique position to help you navigate these regulatory programs and build a custom supply chain solution that meets your business needs. 

Let us take the headache out of your supply chain planning. Contact your J.B. Hunt representative today! Don’t have a rep? Let’s Connect