Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks account for only 7% of the vehicles in Massachusetts, but 20% of MA’s transportation greenhouse gas emissions and 46% of nitrogen oxides emissions.  (Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are commonly called smog.)  The public health impact of these pollutants include higher asthma rates, cardiovascular disease, lower birth weights, and higher rates of dementia.  Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks are vehicles that weigh more than 8,500 lbs, such as school buses, cargo vans, construction vehicles (cement mixers, garbage) and delivery trucks.  These are trucks that travel in our local communities.  Governor Baker has proposed a new rule, the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule which would require truck manufacturers to sell zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024 and require that sales of new MHDV’s reach 30% by 2030, 40% by 2035 and 100% by 2045.

If the ACT rule is passed by the end of 2022 Massachusetts expects to reduce GHG and NOx emissions from Medium and Heavy Duty Truck emissions by half by 2050.  This equates to an estimated statewide reduction of 4% in GHG emissions and 18% in NOx emissions by 2050.  Hopefully, requiring manufacturers to sell electric trucks, combined with new EV infrastructure for charging, will spur faster adoption of electric trucks and a greater reduction in emissions.  Massachusetts committed to net zero GHG emissions by 2050 last year when Governor Baker signed An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy.  The ACT rules will be a move in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to get the GHG emissions from transportation to net zero.  Statewide traffic volumes are fast approaching pre-COVID levels.  Reducing traffic as Massachusetts transitions to electric vehicles is necessary to meet the goal of 45% reduction in GHG by 2030 in Massachusetts’ Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan.  Fast tracking the electrification of commuter/regional trains, improving bike/pedestrian infrastructure, and improving frequency and reliability of mass transit is also needed as Massachusetts replaces diesel and gas vehicles with electric vehicles over the coming decades.

To learn more about ACT watch the MA Union of Concerned Scientists webinar on ACT.

For more information on the proposed ACT Rule and its Feb 1 public hearing, click here. The public comment period for ACT ends Feb 11.

Read the State’s Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) here.

You can find a list of upcoming public meetings on the CECP here.

“We are heading in the wrong direction during a critical window of time when the climate crisis has officially put us on the clock,” said Cabell Eames, political director of the state climate organization 350 Massachusetts.

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