North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality hosts a virtual public information session today on changes the state is considering to boost the number of electric trucks traveling its roads, and phase out the use of greenhouse-gas-spewing diesel guzzlers.
Trucks and buses make up around 3% of road traffic, but emit 26% of North Carolina’s smog and 32% percent of particulate matter and other hazardous air pollutants.
Jeff Robbins – executive director of CleanAIRE NC – said exposure to air pollution is known to increase asthma, heart attacks, increase COVID-19 risk and other conditions, and says the health of North Carolinians depends on shifting to electric heavy-duty vehicles.
“Fine particulate matter, PM 2.5, ozone, nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide,” said Robbins. “Reducing the emission of dangerous air pollutants is critical to the health of North Carolinians.”
Last fall Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 271, which tasks state regulators with beginning the rule-making process for the Advanced Clean Truck program.
Opponents argue clean-trucks standards will raise prices on consumer goods and harm the trucking industry.
The state argues that North Carolina can benefit from the global market transition to electric trucks by requiring manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of zero-emission vehicles over time.
“It’s a twofold approach to get rid of combustion engines and move toward electric vehicles that help do their part in reducing emissions,” said Robbins.
The new rules will apply to delivery vans, box trucks, garbage trucks, semi-tractors and other vehicles weighing at least 8,500 pounds. So far at least nine other states have either adopted or proposed a version of the Advanced Clean Trucks program.
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This story was written by Nadia Ramlagan, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared