Several States Press the Accelerator on Reducing GHG Emissions in Transportation Sector from Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Last week, eight states and the District of Columbia announced a joint commitment to develop an agreement and action plan to support accelerated development of medium and heavy-duty zero emissions trucks and buses. In a joint statement of intent entitled “Multi-State Medium-and Heavy- Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Initiative,” California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont declared their intent to develop a multistate memorandum of understanding to support efforts to develop zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in an effort to address climate change concerns.

“Our states recognize that nearly all new motor vehicles need to be electric by 2050 to achieve necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” the statement reads. 

Medium and heavy-duty vehicles are the next largest source of transportation sector greenhouse gases emissions after passenger cars and trucks. The intent of the future memorandum of understanding is to further the states’ efforts at transportation electrification, and was cited by the signatories as a key climate action strategy and a top air quality priority.  

The future memorandum will be developed through a collaborative process facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), a multistate organization with experience supporting collaborative clean air programs.  

This effort to develop a regulatory plan for tackling medium and heavy-duty vehicle emissions is an attempt to build off of an existing memorandum of understanding signed by a number of states to develop concerted efforts in adopting regulations to accelerate the sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). The goal is to reduce transportation-related air pollution, enhance energy diversity, save consumers money, and promote economic growth. The signatories note their intent to build off of the previous memorandum of understanding to develop a successful model to advance and promote zero emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles. A proposed memorandum of understanding for these specific ZEVs is expected to be offered for consideration to the governors of the signatory states and mayor of the District of Columbia in the summer of 2020.

These types of proposals often cause friction between the states and federal government—the promulgation of ZEV standards is no different and likely will follow that trend. While there fails to be a federal commitment to adopt similar ZEV acceleration measures, it’s clear that the states have and will continue to lead the way in advancing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. 

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