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Maine Joins Coalition Of States Aimed At Increasing Use Of Electric Vehicles

Toby Talbot
AP Images

Maine is joining a coalition of 15 states in setting aggressive new goals to increase the number of electric trucks and buses on the region's roads. The states agreed this week to ensure that within a decade 30 percent of all new medium and heavy-duty vehicles sold in their jurisdictions are electric vehicles, and that 100 percent of those new sales be zero-emission only by the year 2050.

Paul Miller is executive director of NESCAUM, a multi-state group of air quality regulators. He says the states will be asked to provide incentives and promotions to grow the fleet of larger zero-emission vehicles. That includes large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and even long-haul big rigs.

"They are only about four percent of the registered vehicles across the nation, but they are about 25 percent of greenhouse emissions in the transportation sector, which is the largest sector, in itself, of greenhouse gas emissions sector."

Miller says the technology is improving fast — fast enough that Amazon just ordered 100,000 zero-emission delivery vehicles.

Maine and four other New England states have signed on to the agreement, as well as California, New York and New Jersey.

Miller adds that in addition to reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions, the effort will emphasize reducing air pollution near at-risk communities, where community health has suffered because they disproportionately host polluting facilities, such as diesel truck depots.

Updated 6:11 p.m. July 15, 2020

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.