California regulators pass rule to phase out gas-powered forklifts

By Alex Nieves | 07/01/2024 06:19 AM EDT

The rule will ban the purchase of most internal combustion forklifts starting in 2026 and phase out older models by 2038.

A forklift driver unloads a truck full of food to be given out.

CARB staff estimates the regulation will apply to around 95,000 forklifts powered by propane, natural gas and gasoline. Wilfredo Lee/AP

California air regulators approved a first-in-the-nation rule Thursday to mandate the phase-out of most gas-powered forklifts despite opposition from industry groups and labor unions.

The move is the latest effort from the California Air Resources Board to decrease reliance on fossil fuels as the state attempts to slash emissions 48 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2045.

The rule will ban the purchase of new internal combustion forklifts — excluding rough terrain models — starting in 2026. Older models would be phased out between 2028 and 2038, with small fleets of 25 or fewer forklifts getting more time.


CARB has in recent years passed regulations to mandate the sale of zero-emission light-duty vehicles, trucks, harbor vessels, lawn mowers and other technology with combustion engines. Those rules face a variety of legal challenges led by industry groups and conservative state attorneys general.