Shhh! Media, Politicians Hype ‘All Electric’ Fire Trucks (with Diesel Engines)

Craig Bannister | May 23, 2024
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Media and politicians are telling the public that their cities now have “all electric” fire trucks – even though the pricey vehicles actually have diesel engines.

“This would be laughable, if so much money wasn't being wasted on such a big lie,” Power The Future Executive Director Daniel Turner said, reacting to a new report by The Center Square.

There are only two possible reasons someone would push the “all electric” falsehood (neither of them good), Turner explained:

“Every politician celebrating these trucks as ‘all electric’ are (sic) either lying to the public, or too clueless to know what they’re talking about.”

What’s more, “Over-spending tax dollars on a product and then misleading voters is nothing less than pure fraud,” Turner said.

As The Center Square notes, the fire engine falsehood is being widely pushed by both politicians and media:

  • New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham boasted that his state had purchased a “zero emissions” electric fire truck, a fire department spokesman called it "all electric" and a CBS affiliate described it as a "fully electric" fire truck.
  • In Portland, an Oregon NBC affiliate quoted a fire department spokesperson calling the new truck “zero emissions.”
  • In Arizona, a Fox affiliate quoted a fire chief declaring “There’s no cancer coming out of the tailpipe.”
  • Wisconsin Public Radio touted Milwaukee’s purchase of “the state’s first electric fire truck,” waiting until eight minutes into the segment to confess the truck contained a gas-powered engine.


In reality, the new Pierce Volterra ("Zero Emissions. Zero compromises") fire trucks are more of a hybrid, featuring a “Parallel-Electric Drive Train” with an “internal combustion engine (ICE) for continuous and uninterrupted power to the pumping system or drive system.”

The electric fire trucks cost significantly more than traditional diesel trucks – up to one-and-a-half times as much – so, states like New Mexico use money from the federal government to help pay for them, The Center Square explains:

“The new fire trucks come with a hefty price tag – 40% to 50% more than a comparable diesel fire truck. For example, the New Mexico hybrid fire truck that has been ordered costs the local government $1.8 million with $400,000 coming from a federal grant.”

Thus, while city officials’ pants may be on fire for misleading their local constituents, every American who pays federal taxes is helping to pay for these new, partially “green,” vehicles.