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Leading Environmental, Academic, Environmental Justice and Industry Groups Release First-of-its-Kind Study

Comprehensive Analysis Concludes Electric Buses and Trucks are Essential to Meet Pollution Reduction Goals, Least Cost to Own and Create More Jobs

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the California Electric Transportation Coalition, today released a first-of-its-kind report which concluded that electric trucks and buses can deliver the largest reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution; are essential for meeting California climate and air quality targets; will be cost competitive by 2030; and will create the greatest economic benefits when compared to other emission reduction strategies for heavy-duty trucks and buses.

"We are running out of time if we are serious about meeting the state's 2030 and 2050 pollution reduction goals," said Jimmy O'Dea of the Union of Concerned Scientists . "The findings of this comprehensive analysis are clear; switching to electric buses and trucks is critical for California to address climate emissions and tackle unhealthy air quality. The good news is the findings also show that with continued improvement, electric trucks and buses will be the most affordable options and create the most economic benefits. However, significant investments must be made in electric vehicles and infrastructure now to support the transition to zero emission trucks and buses."

"This report reviews the fairly extensive body of research into sustainable transportation over the last decade and highlights some of the clear messages that are emerging," said Colin Murphy, UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy . "If we're going to meet our emissions targets, electrifying heavy duty vehicles will probably be the biggest contributor to success." 

Transportation accounts for 50 percent of all GHG emissions and 80-90 percent of smog forming pollutants when fuel production emissions are included. Much attention and resources have appropriately been spent on transitioning passenger vehicles to cleaner technologies, but this report is focused on the importance of commercial vehicles. Buses, delivery trucks and semi-trucks account for more than 8% of the state's GHG emissions and 32% of NOx emissions. NOx emissions contribute to both smog and particulate pollution which has been linked to asthma and other serious illnesses in communities with significant commercial traffic.

"These findings reinforce that our focus must be on zero-emission, electric trucks and buses," said Paul Cort of the Earthjustice . "Technologies that rely on combustion – even combustion of renewable fuels – are limited in what they can achieve and will not be sufficient to meet needed emission reductions."

"Frontline communities have long suffered from the toxic effects of truck pollution," said Taylor Thomas of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice . "This study makes it crystal clear that shifting to zero-polluting trucks and buses is the only viable path to achieving our pollution reduction goals and finally reducing the burden on our families."

California must reduce GHG emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, 80 percent by 2050 and NOx emissions by approximately 80% in 2031. For the state to hit these goals, it must dramatically reduce its reliance on carbon-based fuels like diesel and natural gas in the coming decades. The study concluded that relying on diesel and natural gas trucks, even when powered by available renewable diesel and renewable natural gas (RNG), is insufficient to meet 2030 and 2050 climate and clean air goals. However, widespread adoption of zero emission trucks and buses provides a pathway for achieving these goals.

The study also examined the cost of owning and operating all types of battery electric trucks, from delivery trucks to big rigs operating at the ports. The study showed that while incentives are important today to make electric trucks competitive with diesel trucks, by 2030, the total cost of owning and operating electric trucks is expected to be lower than diesel even without purchase subsidies.    

"Investing in zero-emission trucks and buses is a triple win for California," said Simon Mui of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) . "We can improve air quality and public health, reduce climate pollution, and save money. It's time for the state leaders to go all in."

The authors of the report found that renewable sources of diesel and natural gas can provide GHG and climate benefits compared to fossil fuels today, but inadequate feedstock supplies to produce renewable diesel and renewable natural gas, together with the demand for these fuels from other sectors of the economy, limit their overall potential to significantly offset the use of conventional diesel.  Of the 3.1 billion diesel equivalent gallons of fuel that will be needed by 2030 to power the state's trucks and buses, the potential RNG supply, from sources like landfills, dairies and wastewater treatment facilities could provide only 750 million—far too little to reach California's GHG and NOx pollution reduction goals.

"Electricity fuel in CA comes from an ever-increasing amount of renewable resources, this state is heading toward a zero-emission electricity future. This report concludes that electric trucks and buses will cost owners less to own and operate than other options as soon as 2030 and will create the most jobs," said Eileen Tutt, executive director of the California Electric Transportation Coalition . "The costs of batteries have dropped dramatically in recent years, and the storage technology is proven and continues to improve. The path is clear, we now need to ensure our policies and resources will get us there."

The full report was authored by international research firm ICF and can be found here: https://caletc.com/comparison-of-medium-and-heavy-duty-technologies-in-california/

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SOURCE California Electric Transportation Coalition