New England Out Front in New Action Plan for Zero-Emission Vehicles

Yesterday the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont, together with California, Maryland, New York, and Oregon, released a new Action Plan announcing the roadmap to achieving their collective goal of putting 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025.  The Action Plan puts meat on the bones of a pledge first introduced by the eight states in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on October 24, 2013.

By increasing the sale of ZEVs—which include battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles—the eight MOU states are taking an important step in combating the air pollution and climate change challenges we face. The Action Plan takes critical steps to make the 3.3 million goal a reality, including these priority multi-state actions:

  • Increase collaboration among the states and private entities to promote the availability of ZEVs to consumers;
  • Evaluate opportunities to incentivize increased consumer adoption of ZEVs;
  • Increase use of ZEVs in public and private fleets;
  • Remove barriers to retail sale of clean transportation fuels;
  • Increase access to ZEV refueling stations at workplaces; and
  • Coordinate advances in ZEV refueling infrastructure.
Will we soon be seeing more zero emission vehicles in 4 New England states?

Will we soon be seeing more zero emission vehicles in 4 New England states?

The Action Plan also identifies further action that can be taken on a state-by-state basis, including: devising incentives for ZEV purchasers through “point-of-purchase” rebates or state and federal tax credits, access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, preferential parking, reduced tolls, and reciprocity across MOU states.

In order for the MOU states to achieve their goal of 3.3 million ZEVS on the road by 2025, it will be critical for individual states to pursue these more ambitious actions, above and beyond the collective activities identified in the Action Plan. For instance, the consumer rebate program just announced in Massachusetts is a model other states can adopt to increase ZEV purchases.

The eight states participating in the MOU account for approximately one quarter of new car sales in the nation.  California’s ZEV program, developed by the state’s Air Resources Board, was the first model for promoting and supporting ZEVs state-wide.  The eight states have also been working toward lowered greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increased ZEV use at the local level, with examples like the all-electric transit bus fleet launched in March in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Unlike internal combustion vehicles, ZEVs do not emit GHGs through their tailpipes. While the generation of electricity and hydrogen required to operate ZEVs results in GHG emissions, the net lifecycle emissions for ZEV fuels is still less than conventional vehicles overall, with varying GHG profiles depending on the region and energy source.  With current innovations and increasing support for renewable fuel sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal, electricity production for electric vehicles will increasingly be sourced by low or zero emission sources.  In addition to decreased GHGs, implementation of the ZEV Action Plan will lead to decreased smog and therefore better health, increased national security, economic growth, and savings for consumers. Electricity is one-third the cost of gasoline or diesel per mile, and ZEV maintenance costs are far below those for conventional internal combustion vehicles!

CLF applauds the leadership and commitment of the eight ZEV MOU states, and urges additional states to hop on board.


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