Maine has a great opportunity to improve our state’s health and economy by adopting stronger standards for clean cars and trucks that will ensure automakers are delivering new zero emission vehicles for Mainers to buy.

By giving more people the freedom to choose zero emission vehicles, we are investing in Maine people, ensuring those already suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions — including children — breathe cleaner air and live longer lives.

We can’t afford to delay. Maine must adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) standards this year to reduce tailpipe pollution fueling climate change and ensure we don’t get left behind when new models come to market.

These stronger standards, which will kick in in 2027, are fundamentally about giving people in Maine better choices for their health and their wallet. And better choices for our climate and children’s futures.

Every year we delay is another year Maine is left behind.

Burning gasoline and diesel releases harmful pollution that worsens air quality, increasing the incidence and prevalence of respiratory illnesses. Tailpipe pollution from gas-powered vehicles contributes to climate change, which is already impacting Maine through extreme weather, rising temperatures, and wildfire smoke that harms our health. Around half of Maine’s climate-polluting emissions come from cars and trucks, and these standards are the best way to address this problem this year.


2023 American Lung Association report found that a widespread transition to zero-emission passenger vehicles and electricity in Maine would save 330 lives and $3.6 billion in public health benefits over the next 30 years.

We must move toward cleaner trucks. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks represented only 6% of the vehicles on the road in 2020 but generated 59% of ozone- and particle-forming NOx emissions and 55% of particulate pollution. People who drive, live, learn and work near trucking routes are disproportionately hurt by this air pollution.

According to a Clean Air Task Force analysis, each year in Maine, diesel pollution from heavy-duty vehicles costs nearly $300 million in health care costs, more than 1,000 lost work days; and more than 6,000 days where poor air quality restricts outdoor activity.

Transitioning heavy duty vehicles will take time, which is why the standards being considered start with easier-to-transition vans and delivery trucks. For larger trucks, the standards will increase slower — over more than a decade — as those market segments develop. But that responsible, market-oriented pace is exactly why it’s important we start now — giving manufacturers the needed certainty to continue research and development.

The demand for zero-emission cars and trucks is growing. They are cheaper to operate, more fun to drive, and better for our environment and health. As more people buy them, the infrastructure to support them, like charging stations, will continue to grow with the pace of uptake.

Currently, automakers aren’t acting fast enough to meet this demand; this is why these stronger standards focus exclusively on encouraging manufacturers to provide more electric vehicles for Maine drivers in the coming years.

To date, seven other states have already adopted these stronger clean car and truck standards, with several others in the process of adopting them. Maine has a proud 20-year track record of increasing vehicle efficiency, reducing pollution, and adopting strong emissions standards. If we don’t move forward on clean car and truck standards, Maine would revert to the weaker federal standards for the first time since 2001. We’d breathe dirtier air and miss a key opportunity to tackle the climate crisis.

By adopting ACCII and ACT, the Board of Environmental Protection would be acting in the interest of Maine people, especially those in rural areas, who tend to spend more on gas traveling for work, school, and healthcare. We can’t rely on the market alone to move toward healthier, pollution-free vehicles, or to address climate change.

Adopting these stronger standards will encourage market innovation, protect public health and the environment, and improve fuel efficiency, saving people money. Adopting these standards is a matter of fairness. Let’s adopt strong clean cars and trucks standards now.

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