Today’s Solutions: March 29, 2023

In the latter half of December 2021, New Jersey became the first east coast state to begin the process of phasing out diesel-powered trucks (meaning anything bigger than a delivery van). The plan, which is based on California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule (ACT), is expected to roll out in 2025 and will require that 40 to 75 percent of new truck sales in the state be pollution-free and zero-emission by 2035.

“New Jersey is already experiencing the adverse impacts of climate change, but we have the power and obligation to reduce its worsening in the years ahead by acting now to limit our emissions of climate pollutants,” declared the state’s commissioner for the Department of Environmental Protection, Shawn LaTourette, in a press release.

The transportation sector in New Jersey contributes to approximately 40 percent of the state’s total carbon emissions and is its largest greenhouse gas source. According to a report for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Union of Concerned Scientists, New Jersey’s fleet of approximately 423,000 medium and heavy trucks are responsible for around 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. They are also responsible for the release of pollutants that have been connected to multiple health issues like asthma, pulmonary cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even premature deaths.

“We know switching to all-electric powered trucking and goods movement will not happen overnight,” said Amy Goldsmith, the New Jersey director of the nonprofit Clean Water Action, in a statement. “But it is an essential element to protecting public health and addressing the climate crisis regardless of the zip code you live in.”

The adoption of the ACT rule has the potential of saving the state almost $1 billion in public health costs over the next three decades. Other states like Oregon and Washington have also implemented similar rules, while even more are considering the act such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Colorado.

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