States to Pursue Cleaner Trucks, a Major Step Forward for Climate and Air Quality

Published Jul 14, 2020

OAKLAND (July 14, 2020)—In a memorandum of understanding released today, 15 states and the District of Columbia have announced their intention to pursue policies to support electrification of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. The memorandum follows California’s recent decision to require manufacturers to sell electric trucks in the state over the next 15 years. Cleaning up truck emissions is a critical part of reducing pollution and meeting state climate goals, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Jimmy O’Dea, senior vehicles analyst in the Clean Transportation Program at UCS.

“Transportation is the biggest source of global warming emissions in the country, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks contribute a substantial share of those emissions. In addition, the nation’s trucks and buses are responsible for nearly half of the on-road nitrogen oxide pollution and more than half of the on-road particulate matter pollution, leading to detrimental and racially inequitable health outcomes. So, any serious effort to tackle air quality and climate change will require policies that rein in truck emissions and shift the sector toward electric trucks.

“These leaders recognize the importance of clean trucks in reaching their climate goals. As these states and the District move forward, they need to enact policies, such as requiring automakers to sell electric trucks, and assisting truck owners in transitioning to electric options by directing utilities to invest in charging infrastructure, and providing incentives for vehicle purchases.

“Today’s memorandum is only a first step, but it’s a necessary one to move us into a cleaner, safer future.”

The memorandum was signed by the governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, along with the mayor of Washington, DC. Last month, California approved the world’s first zero-emissions truck standard.