Nearly Two Dozen U.S. and Canadian States Endorse Roadmap to 100% Zero-Emission Trucks by 2050
EDF statement of Larissa Koehler, Vehicle Electrification & Senior Attorney
(CHICAGO, IL) Today a coalition of 17 states, the District of Columbia and Quebec signed off on an action plan that will provide state leaders a roadmap to achieve 30% zero-emission truck sales by 2030 and 100% sales no later than 2050, while directly tackling deadly climate and air pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
“Putting more zero-emission trucks on our roads will save lives and improve rates of childhood asthma, while also reducing climate pollution,” said Larissa Koehler, Director, Vehicle Electrification & Senior Attorney. “As Americans suffer extreme heat and record ozone days across the country this summer, the time to act on climate and air pollution is now. This plan gives states the roadmap they need to get to work; now states need to take the reins and plot a path to 100% zero-emission truck sales by 2035 and develop a transparent process that centers equity to achieve this goal."
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are only about four percent of all cars and trucks on U.S. roads, but they are responsible for more than a quarter of all climate pollution from the transportation sector. They are also a substantial source of nitrogen oxide emissions, which are a main component of unhealthy smog and linked to an increase in childhood asthma, heart disease and premature death. People of color and those with lower incomes bear this health burden disproportionately, because they live near truck corridors and other sources of transportation pollution – often a product of discriminatory housing policies.
The action plan lists 1) state adoption of vehicle sales and purchase requirements, and 2) vehicle and infrastructure purchase incentives as among the top actions for states to cut deadly diesel pollution. These include:
- The Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation establishes manufacturer zero-emission truck sales requirements, which have already been adopted by six states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington) representing about 20% of the U.S. medium- and heavy-duty vehicle marketplace.
- The Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Omnibus regulation to reduce NOx and PM emissions from heavy-duty fossil fuel trucks helps the market transition to cleaner technologies as the gradual shift to electric trucks moves forward. This standard has been adopted by three states (California, Massachusetts, and Oregon) and several more are in the rulemaking process (Washington and Vermont).
- Deployment of infrastructure through public and private investment that can support the transition to 100% sales of zero-emission trucks and buses, and is structured to prioritize deployment in the communities that stand to benefit most from air quality improvements.
- Financial mechanisms, including incentives and tariffed on-bill financing that can help mitigate the currently higher upfront cost of zero-emission trucks. These mechanisms should be tailored to help small businesses, businesses owned by women and people of color and independent owner-operators.
The Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Task Force has been working since 2020 to develop this action plan, a process that’s been spearheaded by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM).
Over the next year, states should seek to develop plans that tailor NESCAUM’s model to their unique needs – and states that have not yet joined the multi-state agreement still have the opportunity. Alongside a 2035 sales target, this might detail cross-agency coordination, a plan to work with utilities in the state, and identifying how to work with underserved and pollution-burdened communities most effectively and authentically. Once state plans detailing policies that achieve a jurisdiction’s overarching goal are developed, government leaders will then be tasked with implementing them to support the rapid adoption of zero-emission trucks.
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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With offices in the United States, China, Mexico, United Kingdom and Indonesia, EDF’s 750 scientists, economists, attorneys – and our partners and allies – work in 26 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EDFEnergyEX and @EnvDefenseEuro. For more information: www.edf.org/issue/transportation/clean-trucks-and-buses
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