Jul 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

States team up in push for electric heavy vehicles

A photo of busses crossing an intersection.

16th Street Mall busses in Denver. Photo: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A new pact to speed deployment of zero-emission trucks, vans, buses and other big vehicles that move lots of people and objects around was unveiled by 15 states plus D.C. this morning.

Why it matters: The new "memorandum of understanding" is non-binding, but it sets aggressive targets, and provides a template for working together on emissions from industries that often operate across state lines.

The big picture: "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," the announcement states.

  • It also notes that medium- and heavy-duty vehicles account for lots of smog-forming and particulate pollution, which disproportionately affects poor people and communities of color.

How it works: The MOU sets a goal of having electric models account for all medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales in their states by 2050, and a nearer-term goal of 30% by 2030.

  • The states involved include California, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

What's next: The agreement calls for creating a joint plan within six months that includes suggestions for...

  • Incentives states can adopt.
  • Plans to have public transit and other government agencies increase deployment.
  • Infrastructure strategies.
  • Plans to work with private fleet managers.
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