The State of Hawaii is one of 15 states and the District of Columbia to announce a collective effort to expand the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks (big-rigs).

“We welcome the opportunity to join this multi-state coalition to accelerate electrification of medium-and heavy-duty vehicles,” said Hawaii Gov. David Ige. “The electrification of transportation is critical to achieving Hawaii’s zero emission clean economy goal and to reach the state’s 100 percent renewable energy target for electricity.”

The goal is to ensure that 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero emission vehicles by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030.

By promoting and investing in electric trucks and buses and the charging and fueling infrastructure needed to serve these vehicles, the participating states will support job creation, and help to build a resilient and clean economy.

States signing on to the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) are California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

To expedite its progress, the 15 states will follow the framework establsihed by an existing multi-state Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Task Force facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), which is already developing and implementing an action plan for electric trucks and buses.

The Hawaii State Energy Office, which is charged with leading the state’s clean transportation efforts, represented Hawaii in the drafting of the MOU.

“Reducing petroleum use in the transportation sector is a top priority since transportation accounts for nearly two-thirds of fossil fuel use in Hawaii, said Scott Glenn, chief energy officer for the State of Hawaii. “The Energy Office is guiding the adoption of clean transportation across Hawaii, including the deployment of zero emissions vehicles and associated charging infrastructure that directly contribute to reduced petroleum consumption and emissions in the transportation sector.”

The state says the MOU will go a long way toward slashing harmful diesel emissions and cutting carbon pollution.

The transportation sector is the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and 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. 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. In fact, emissions from trucks are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, and the number of truck miles traveled on the nation’s roads is forecast to continue to grow significantly in the coming decades.

Truck and bus electrification also promise to deliver widespread health benefits, particularly in communities with heavy truck traffic that are burdened with higher levels of air pollution. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are a major source of harmful smog-forming pollution, particulate matter, and air toxics. These emissions disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color often located near major trucking corridors, ports, and distribution hubs.

The MOU comes at an important transition point for the industry as investment in zero emission vehicle technology for the medium- and heavy-duty sector continues to ramp up. Today, at least 70 electric truck and bus models are on the market, and manufacturers are expected to make many more new models commercially available over the next decade. Apart from the public health benefits and avoided health care costs zero emission trucks and buses provide, by 2030, the total cost of ownership for many common commercial vehicles is projected to reach parity with conventionally fueled vehicles.

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