Harrisburg, PA: Today, a coalition of businesses and other organizations announced their support for implementing Pennsylvania’s Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) standards. In a letter to the Shapiro Administration, the organizations urged the Commonwealth to begin the rulemaking process for the adoption of the ACT rule before the end of 2023. The ACT rule helps modernize medium-heavy duty vehicles (MHDV), improving public health and making Pennsylvania a leader in electrification as more vehicles and manufacturers move to electric technology.
In 2020, Pennsylvania joined over a dozen states in signing a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU), committing to electrifying and eliminating toxic air pollution from new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs) by 2050. In the Spring of 2022, the MOU signatory states released a draft Action Plan highlighting the adoption of the ACT as a powerful tool to reach the MOU goals. Eight states have already adopted the ACT rule, including our New Jersey neighbors as well as California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Oregon, and Vermont. Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Maryland, and New Mexico are all in the adoption process or have announced plans to begin the rulemaking process.
“As a business at the forefront of e-mobility solutions, we see firsthand that technology and market demand are ready to support the transition to clean vehicles,” said Ryan Dalton, Siemens Head of External Affairs and Policy—Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. “Strong state standards that set clear expectations for market growth over the coming years are key to managing the transition and meeting escalating consumer demand. We support an Advanced Clean Trucks rule in Pennsylvania because it is the best way to attract investment and provide predictability for manufacturers, companies, workforces, and consumers alike.”
“Commercial fleet owners and operators want to transition to zero-emission vehicles to capture cost savings, meet emissions and air quality goals, and support the health of their communities, customers, and employees,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director for state policy at Ceres. “Leading businesses support adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks rule across states, including Pennsylvania, because the rule will help grow the volume and variety of zero-emission models and enable companies with diverse operations to unlock the benefits of electrification.”
“In addition to improving air quality for Pennsylvanians, the Advanced Clean Trucks rule will lower costs for vehicle fleet operators and unlock new, cost-effective options for Pennsylvania businesses,” said Nick Bibby, Pennsylvania state lead at Advanced Energy United, a business association which represents a wide spectrum of companies involved in vehicle production, charging infrastructure, and energy management software. “Small businesses, which have been hit hard by inflation and volatile fuel and supply chain prices, will benefit significantly from this regulation because it will help them switch to vehicles that cost less to operate and maintain.”
“As a key state for freight transportation, Pennsylvania is well-positioned to participate in and benefit from the transition to zero-emission trucks,” said Alissa Burger, Regional Policy Director for CALSTART. “By adopting the ACT standards, the Shapiro Administration has an unprecedented opportunity to improve air quality for all Pennsylvanians, further harness the economic benefits of the zero-emission market, and to help fleets more readily transition their vehicles by increasing vehicle availability in the state.”
Implementing the ACT standards will reduce dangerous truck and bus pollution and protect the economic well-being of our commonwealth by lowering vehicle emissions and accelerating the transition to electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. Electrification of the medium- and heavy-duty sector and the ACT rule will support domestic innovation and investment in clean technology manufacturing—creating new domestic jobs, cutting costs for our value chains, mitigating climate risk, improving public health, and reducing healthcare costs.
“The Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) program can help Pennsylvania mitigate climate change, improve air quality, and protect public health, providing up to $35 billion in benefits to the Commonwealth by 2050 under the most aggressive policy scenario. DEP should initiate a rulemaking process to adopt ACT, so Pennsylvania will be able to realize these economic benefits while ensuring our residents can breathe cleaner air,” said Robert Routh, Pennsylvania Lead for NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy Program. “The transportation sector accounts for twenty-two percent of Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions, which must be addressed to reach our climate goals. Getting more zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles on the road will also greatly benefit communities who live near busy roads and highways and are disproportionately burdened by transportation pollution.”
Making Pennsylvania Competitive and Promoting Economic Growth
Zero-emission trucks offer significant cost savings through lower fuel and maintenance costs and reduce the risks associated with fossil fuel prices and supply volatility. Becoming an early adopter will also make Pennsylvania more competitive as states fight for new, cutting-edge jobs and businesses in electrification technology.
Implementing the ACT Rule by 2024 would result in 3,524 new jobs by 2035, supporting growth in clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania. These include battery and electric component manufacturing jobs, charging infrastructure construction, and electricity generation.
It would also mean $2.3 billion annually in net societal benefits for Pennsylvania. These gains include $1.3 billion in net fleet savings and $382 million in utility net revenue, totaling nearly $24.9 billion by 2050.
Improving the Public Health of Pennsylvanians
Exposure to diesel exhaust has been associated with a wide range of health effects, including cancer, neurological effects, a weakened immune system, respiratory disease, and cardiovascular disease (EDF)
Almost 60% of NOx and PM exhaust emissions from the trucks and buses were in urban areas, 45 million people in the United States live, work, or attend school within 300 feet of a major road, airport, or railroad, and 45% of U.S. residents live in counties with unhealthy levels of smog or soot.
Scientists have labeled these areas diesel death zones and link exposure to diesel exhaust to more than four dozen toxic air pollutants that cause birth defects, lung damage, and cancer.
According to a Clean Air Task Force analysis of EPA data, every year, diesel emissions from vehicles are projected to cause Pennsylvanians up to:
- 474 premature deaths
- 184 heart attacks
- 6789 cases of respiratory symptoms
- 123 asthma-induced visits to the ER
- $5.2 billion in public health costs to the economy
- 20,733 lost workdays
About ACT Standards in Pennsylvania
The ACT rule is designed to reduce the costs of zero-emission MHDVs by requiring manufacturers to increase production volumes and model availability, which helps meet the needs of fleet operators across multiple vehicle classes and further develops the market for these vehicles in our state in a way that builds economies of scale. The standards will also drive innovation and investment in clean transportation manufacturing and infrastructure deployment and make the state an even more desirable target location for federal clean energy investments.
Adopting ACT, can help Pennsylvania overcome challenges to MHDV electrification, like higher upfront costs, vehicle availability, and a lack of charging infrastructure. ACT will provide market certainty and spur investments in zero-emission MHDVs, chargers, and vehicle depot infrastructure. This will rapidly accelerate the long-term cost savings, climate, and clean air benefits of MHDV electrification.
The more states that adopt, the greater the market-forcing benefits, thereby lowering costs and creating a more stable and self-sufficient market. However, states that lag in adoption run the risk of fewer zero-emission MHDVs available for sale as manufacturers send inventory to the adopters. This dynamic has already played out with light-duty electric vehicles.