Bill to Advance Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Electrification Will Bring Needed Health, Climate Benefits

EDF statement from Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs

July 14, 2021
Shira Langer, slanger@edf.org, (202) 572-3254

(WASHINGTON, DC – July 14, 2021) — Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Ed Markey (D-MA) and Reps. Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Anne Kuster (D-NH), and Yvette Clarke (D-MA) introduced important legislation today that will support the electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

The Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act of 2021 would require the EPA to establish a fleet charging rebate program to promote the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging equipment for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. It also includes additional funds for fleet operators that primarily travel in counties that are designated as nonattainment areas for ozone or carbon monoxide, as well as for fleet operators that install charging equipment in rural areas and primarily travel in rural areas.

“Scaling the adoption of zero-emission medium- and heavy- duty trucks is essential for reducing dangerous air pollution, which often disproportionately burdens low -income communities and communities of color. This transition is essential to meeting our nation’s climate goals” said Elizabeth Gore, EDF Senior Vice President, Political Affairs. “Building out charging infrastructure is a vital part of electrifying our transportation sector, so we are grateful for the leadership of Sens. Merkley, Padilla, and Markey and Reps. Barragan, Matsui, Kuster, and Clarke on this important issue.”

Background

Trucks and buses are a major source of the unhealthy air pollution that puts every American at risk, and are a significant contributor to the more than 20,000 premature deaths the United States sees each year as a result of vehicle pollution. This health burden disproportionately impacts people of color and lower income families, who are more likely to live closest to our nation’s roads, highways, ports, freight depots, distribution centers and similar sources of pollution. Specifically, a recent study found Black Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and other people of color in the U.S. are exposed to 37% more transportation-related air pollution than white residents. Building out electric charging infrastructure for fleets — with a focus on medium and heavy duty vehicles — is necessary to electrify these vehicles, reduce air pollution and address climate change.

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