Today, 15 states and the District of Columbia announced a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU), committing to work collaboratively to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks (big-rigs). The goal is to ensure that 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero emission vehicles by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030.
States signing the MOU are: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
The MOU will go a long way toward slashing harmful diesel emissions and cutting carbon pollution. The transportation sector is the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and also contributes to unhealthy levels of smog in many of the signatory states. Accelerating the electrification of trucks and buses is an essential step to achieve the deep economy-wide emission reductions needed to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and protect the health of millions of Americans. While trucks and buses only account for 4 percent of vehicles on the road, they are responsible for nearly 25 percent of total transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, emissions from trucks are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, and the number of truck miles traveled on the nation’s roads is forecast to continue to grow significantly in the coming decades.
Truck and bus electrification also promises to deliver wide spread health benefits, particularly in communities with heavy truck traffic that are burdened with higher levels of air pollution. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are a major source of harmful smog-forming pollution, particulate matter, and air toxics. These emissions disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color often located near major trucking corridors, ports, and distribution hubs.
The MOU comes at an important transition point for the industry as investment in zero emission vehicle technology for the medium- and heavy duty sector continues to ramp up. Today, at least 70 electric truck and bus models are on the market, and manufacturers are expected to make many more new models commercially available over the next decade. Apart from the public health benefits and avoided health care costs zero emission trucks and buses provide, by 2030, the total cost of ownership for many common commercial vehicles is projected to reach parity with conventionally fueled vehicles.
To provide a framework and help coordinate state efforts to meet these goals, the signatory jurisdictions will work through the existing multi-state ZEV Task Force facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) to develop and implement a ZEV action plan for trucks and buses.
By promoting and investing in electric trucks and buses and the charging and fueling infrastructure needed to serve these vehicles, the signatory jurisdictions will support job creation, and help to build a resilient and clean economy.
Here’s what some of the Signatory States are saying:
“California is proud to be joined by 14 other states and the District of Columbia in a push for clean, zero emission trucks,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Our efforts in California will be magnified through the efforts of this multi-state coalition to reduce emissions and improve air quality, especially crucial in communities where our most vulnerable citizens live. By working together, we can move toward a cleaner future.”
“Now is the time to act regionally to protect the health of our residents and our climate by reducing emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. “In Connecticut, as in other states, our most vulnerable residents are hit hardest by the health effects of air pollution, including asthma and other respiratory ailments. I am looking forward to working with partner states through this agreement to leverage private sector ingenuity with smart public policy to transition to zero-emission vehicles.”
“The electric vehicle industry is primed for tremendous growth,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to place clean transportation technology and infrastructure at the center of the nation’s economic recovery.”
“We welcome the opportunity to join this multi-state coalition to accelerate electrification of medium-and heavy-duty vehicles. The electrification of transportation is critical to achieving Hawaii’s zero emission clean economy goal and to reach the state’s 100 percent renewable energy target for electricity,” said Hawaii Gov. David Ige.
“To reach our clean energy goals and beat back the effects of climate change, we must rapidly electrify our transportation system by supporting the adoption of electric vehicle use in every sector of our economy,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Today’s action will support the electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicles by building on New Jersey’s comprehensive strategy that includes reentry to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, from which auction proceeds will go toward clean energy initiatives particularly for our environmental justice populations. Taken together with the blueprint outlined in our Energy Master Plan, these efforts demonstrate New Jersey’s unwavering commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, creating a healthier environment for everyone.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Without federal leadership, addressing the climate crisis requires states to work together to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources. Reducing air pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will result in cleaner air for our communities—including low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that are often disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution. Today’s announcement bolsters New York’s ongoing efforts to electrify the transportation sector and reduce climate pollution, helping to realize our ambitious emissions reduction goals and grow a powerful green economy to benefit all communities.”
“Oregonians have been leading the way in adopting electric cars to lower emissions. Electrifying trucks, buses and delivery vehicles is the next logical step in cutting emissions, improving air quality and fighting climate change,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
“Pennsylvania is home to some of the highest trafficked highways in the nation, and reducing air pollution from tailpipes will benefit Pennsylvanians across the state,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. “Pennsylvania has already made investments to reduce these kinds of emissions and we are proud to be joining with other states to continue to deploy more electric trucks and buses so we can continue to cut the pollution.”