PROVIDENCE, R.I. (November 30)—A new analysis shows that replacing high-pollution trucks with electric trucks will deliver billions of dollars in benefits to Rhode Island. Strong truck standards that drive the adoption of electric trucks will reduce air pollution-related illness, cut costs for truck fleets and reduce the risk of climate change.
The report, conducted by MJ Bradley and Associates and commissioned by the Union of Concerned Scientist (UCS) and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), shows the potential impact of strong truck-pollution policies on the three southern New England states. The effects of these rules would bring benefits totaling at least $12 billion, and possibly as much as $23 billion. Cleaner air will result in better health for residents of the three states, including fewer hospitalizations and premature deaths, and the economic benefits of the switch will create hundreds of new, good-paying jobs. According to the report, these policy changes will increase GDP by between $425 million and $592 million by 2045.
In Rhode Island alone, the adoption of clean-truck rules and the resulting cleaner air could save at least $66 million and possibly as much as $200 million in health costs by 2050. By 2050, these rules could deliver between $110 million and $211 million in benefits every year, including better public health, reduced climate risk, and consumer savings.
“Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are among the biggest sources of dangerous emissions in New England, and we can’t address climate change or health-damaging air pollution unless we confront the challenges posed by trucks,” said Kevin Shen, a policy analyst and advocate at UCS. “This new analysis vividly illustrates how much we have to gain from switching to electric trucks.”
In Rhode Island, medium-and heavy-duty trucks are only 6 percent of the vehicles on the road but make up 24 percent of the greenhouse gases from transportation, as well as 44 percent of transportation-related emissions of particulate matter (PM) and 50 percent of transportation-related emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), two pollutants linked to negative health effects like bronchitis and asthma.
Recent UCS analysis shows that air pollution from transportation is especially concentrated among communities of color in the Northeast. Trucks also contribute a major share of climate change-causing emissions. The analysis shows that clean truck policies could drive huge reductions in these emissions.
“Rhode Island's adoption of clean truck rules is a critical first step to saying ‘goodbye’ to dirty trucks and their health-harming pollutants,” said Kathy Harris, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Advocate at NRDC. “State leaders can demonstrate their public health and climate leadership by implementing these rules in tandem with additional electrification policies and programs that center pollution-impacted communities."
Electrification of trucks is a vital step toward building a cleaner transportation future for Rhode Island and the region, the new analysis demonstrates. UCS and NRDC experts urged state leaders to adopt the strongest possible standards to ensure that truck fleets can make the switch as quickly as possible and set the region on a healthier, safer and more prosperous path.