New York law mandates zero-emission vehicles

September 22, 2021

Keith Goble


A new law in New York calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from the transportation sector.

The rule follows action taken in California and Massachusetts to address fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

The bill signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul sets a goal for all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035. The Department of Environmental Conservation is directed to also release a proposed regulation to significantly reduce air pollution from large trucks.

A4302/S2758 is intended to support the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“New York is implementing the nation’s most aggressive plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions affecting our climate and to reach our ambitious goals,” Gov. Hochul said in prepared remarks. “We must reduce emissions from the transportation sector, currently the largest source of the state’s climate pollution.”

The new law states that new medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles are targeted to be zero-emissions by 2045.

A zero-emissions vehicle development strategy in the state is required by 2023.

Action at the statehouse comes less than six months after 12 states including New York asked President Joe Biden to set federal standards similar to what states are doing.

Truck regulation in place

New York’s proposed regulation included in A4302/S2758 would require truck manufacturers to transition to clean, electric zero-emission vehicles.

Truck manufacturers would be required to meet a certain annual sales percentage of zero-emission trucks, which will vary among vehicle weight classes, beginning with model year 2025. By the 2035 model year, at least 75% of all new Class 4-8 trucks and 40% of all new Class 7-8 tractors sold in the state would be required to be zero-emission.

The governor’s office says that medium- and heavy-duty trucks are the second-largest source of nitrogen oxide emissions from mobile sources. The affected trucks represent about 5% of the state’s 10.6 million registered vehicles.

Following in California’s footsteps

In 2020, New York and 14 other states, agreed through a memorandum of understanding to develop an action plan to accelerate the electrification of buses and trucks, including to consider adoption of the California regulation.

Last fall in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-79-20 to address emissions standards in passenger vehicles. The order will require 100% of sales of new passenger vehicles in California to be zero-emission by 2035. The executive order also requires the same standard for medium and heavy-duty trucks by 2045.

The New York governor’s office says the collective goal in the Empire State is to ensure that 100% of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales by zero emission vehicles by 2050. An interim target of 30% zero-emission vehicle sales in these categories is set for 2035.

New York Sen. Pete Harckham, D-South Salem, cited climate change for the need to take action.

“The best way to ramp up our fight against the climate crisis is to transition to new vehicles that are free of carbon and other toxic emissions,” Harckham stated. “We need to take decisive action right now, and enacting this law shows how New York can lead the way to positively impact our environment.” LL

More Land Line coverage of news from New York.