Fifteen states and D.C. pledge 100% zero emission trucks by 2050

July 14, 2020

Tyson Fisher


Fifteen states from California to Maine and the District of Columbia have signed a memorandum of understanding to ensure 100% of all medium- and heavy-duty truck sales are zero emission trucks by 2050, accelerating the race toward electric trucks.

On Tuesday, July 14, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management announced that 15 states and D.C. signed a memorandum of understanding to expedite the electrification of trucks. The states pledge to that all truck sales will be zero-emission trucks by 2050. In the short term, 30% of truck sales will be zero-emission trucks by 2030.

Participating states 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 group said in a statement. “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.”

The announcement comes less than one month after the California Air Resources Board passed the Advanced Clean Trucks regulations, which also expedites the transition to zero emission trucks.

The regulation established the nation’s strictest truck emissions standards for manufacturers.

According to the regulation, manufacturers that certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines will be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2035. By 2035, 75% of Class 4-8 straight truck sales and 40% of truck tractor sales must derive from zero-emission truck/chassis sales.

In fact, the memorandum signed by the 15 states and D.C. is similar to the Advanced Clean Trucks regulations. Participating states will work through the existing multistate ZEV Task Force to develop and implement a zero-emission vehicle action plan for trucks and buses.

The memorandum signatories are to develop an action plan within six months.

That plan will consider the need for:

  • Financial vehicle and infrastructure incentives.
  • Non-financial vehicle and infrastructure incentives.
  • Actions to encourage public transit and public fleet zero emission deployment.
  • Effective infrastructure deployment strategies.
  • Funding sources and innovative financing models to support incentives and other market-enabling programs.
  • Leveraging environmental and air quality benefits associated with adoption of the California Advanced Clean Trucks rule under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act.
  • Coordinated outreach and education to public and private fleet managers.
  • Utility actions to promote zero emission trucks, such as electric distribution system planning, beneficial rate design and investment in “make-ready” charging infrastructure.
  • Measures to foster electric truck use in densely populated areas.
  • Addressing vehicle weight restrictions that are barriers to zero emission truck deployment.
  • Uniform standards and data collection requirements.

“California is proud to be joined by 14 other states and the District of Columbia in a push for clean, zero-emission trucks,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Our efforts in California will be magnified through the efforts of this multistate 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.”

Last December, eight states and the District of Columbia vowed to have trucks and buses reach zero emissions by an unspecified date. Environmental agencies for California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont all signed a statement of intent to have medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in their state reach zero emissions through electrification.

The memorandum is a voluntary initiative. According to the memorandum , “it does not create any legally binding rights or obligations and creates no legally cognizable or enforceable rights or remedies, legal or equitable, in any forum whatsoever.”