N.C. Governor Roy Cooper’s Action on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses will Improve Air Quality, and Position North Carolina to Reap Billions in Net Health and Economic Benefits

Though trucks and buses only comprise about 6% of vehicles on North Carolina roads, they’re responsible for more than 60% of the sector’s air pollution.

October 25, 2022
Julie Murphy, julie@jpmstrategies.net, 919-219-6387

(RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA) State policy to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission trucks and buses in North Carolina advances today with Governor Cooper’s issuing of Executive Order 271. The Governor’s Executive Order, which follows his transportation-focused Executive Order 246 issued in January, directs the NC Department of Environmental Quality to begin rulemaking for Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT), a policy that will grow the state’s zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) market by setting sales targets to increase the number of zero-emission trucks and buses sold in North Carolina. Executive Order 271 also sets important complementary actions into motion, ensuring that a transportation pollution health assessment is conducted, and that necessary zero-emission vehicle infrastructure needs are met as the market grows.

Adoption of ACT will have significant economic benefits for North Carolina, as highlighted in an April 2022 report from RTI that showed - from 2026 to 2050 - cumulative owner benefits of $8.8 billion, cumulative climate benefits of $11.2 billion, and cumulative health benefits of $100.4 billion.

“Governor Cooper’s action today strengthens North Carolina’s position as a leader in the clean transportation space, setting the stage for our state to secure significant economic, environmental, and equity benefits,” said David Kelly, EDF’s North Carolina State Director. “Transportation is the leading contributor of climate-warming emissions in North Carolina, and trucks and buses produce a disproportionate amount of air pollution associated with poor health outcomes. By embracing this policy to grow the market for zero-emission trucks and buses, our Governor is taking meaningful steps to improve air quality, particularly in communities overburdened by transportation pollution, while procuring billions in net health and economic benefits for all North Carolinians.”

EDF recently ran a campaign highlighting the benefits of zero-emission trucks and buses, including cleaner air, healthier communities and a stronger economy. The campaign urged North Carolina leaders to take action, which EO 271 delivers on, to accelerate the state’s transition to electric trucks and buses. Even though trucks and buses comprise only about 6 percent of vehicles on North Carolina roads, they’re responsible for more than 60 percent of the sector’s air pollution that is linked with asthma, heart attacks, lost work days and other impacts that put families’ health and wellbeing at risk. Provisions within EO 271 will help address these health issues, particularly for communities experiencing the worst effects of transportation pollution, calling for the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an evaluation of health and environmental justice impacts of air pollutants. 

With this executive order, North Carolina is joining nine states that have either adopted or proposed a version of the ACT. And this action comes on the heels of Congress passing the historic Inflation Reduction Act, which provides up to $40,000 Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicle tax credits for business owners. Corporate investment in zero-emission trucks is also at a record high, with more than 200 fleets either operating zero-emission trucks or placing orders for them. Legacy automakers are rushing to meet unprecedented demand for zero-emission trucks from corporate giants like Walmart, FedEx and Amazon.

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