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Conservation Law Foundation calls for Maine to go above and beyond new EPA vehicle standards

Electric vehicle chargers in Bangor on April 12, 2023.
Murray Carpenter
Maine Public
Electric vehicle chargers in Bangor on April 12, 2023.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday proposed new federal vehicle emissions standards that are expected to accelerate the transition to clean vehicles and address the climate crisis.

The EPA projects that EVs could account for 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales and 46% of new medium-duty vehicle sales by 2032, eliminating 10 billion tons of CO2 emissions and reducing the need for 20 billion barrels of oil imports.

Greg Cunningham, vice president of clean energy and climate change for the Conservation Law Foundation, says the proposed rules don't go far enough.

"I think it's time for Maine to go above and beyond what this federal proposal does, and to lead us in a direction that's not only in compliance with its climate law but also good for the health of the Maine people and the economy," he says.

Cunningham says Maine should adopt California's proposal that would allow only electric vehicles to be sold in that state by 2035. Transportation in Maine is responsible for nearly 50% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

"If we can address transportation we're a long way towards meeting our 80 percent reduction by 2050, which is what Maine law requires. The California standard is demonstrated to be the best way to achieve those emission reduction standards," he says.

Last year, the Natural Resources Council of Maine surveyed Maine EV owners and found overwhelming satisfaction with EV reliability and maintainance as well as monthly fuel costs.