North Carolina Joins the Largest-Ever State Partnership to Slash Vehicle Pollution

This week, fifteen states plus DC have committed to achieving 100% tailpipe pollution-free electric trucks and buses by 2050. These states account for 35% of the nations' medium and heavy-duty fleets, making this the largest-ever state partnership to slash vehicle pollution.

Stan Cross | July 15, 2020 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles, Energy Policy, North Carolina

Trucks and buses are dirty. Remember riding the school bus and opening a window to escape the stuffiness only to inhale diesel fumes? How often have you driven down the highway with the windows or fresh air vents open only to be enveloped by the stink of truck exhaust?

That stinky exhaust contributes to unhealthy air pollution and climate change. The exhaust contains greenhouse gasses that warm the planet, as well as nitrous oxide (NOx) and PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter), which both pose significant health risks at all stages of life.

Heavy-duty vehicles account for only 10% of vehicles on US roads, but also account for:

  • 28% of greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s on-road transportation sector
  • 45% of on-road NOx emissions
  • 57% of on-road PM2.5 emissions

This week, the Governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the mayor of District of Columbia, signed the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committing to electrify 100% of medium and heavy-duty vehicles by 2050.



North Carolina is the only Southeast MOU signatory, reflecting Governor Roy Cooper’s climate and clean energy leadership. In 2018, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 80, committing his administration to address climate change and transition to a clean energy economy. Governor Cooper empowered the NC Department of Transportation to develop a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Plan, which addresses transitioning consumer and fleet light-duty passenger cars. By signing this MOU, Governor Cooper is addressing the need to electrify the medium and heavy-duty vehicle market in parallel.


Life Cycle Global Warming Emissions for Different Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicles on the Average US Grid
Life Cycle Global Warming Emissions for Different Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicles on the Average US Grid, Union of Concerned Scientists

Electrifying transportation will benefit North Carolinians by improving public health, reducing climate risk, and creating jobs:

  • In NC, 65% of ozone-producing NOx emissions and 42% of climate-warming carbon emissions come from cars and trucks.
  • Diesel pollution contains 40 toxic compounds associated with a wide range of adverse health impacts, including asthma, heart and lung diseases, cancer, and premature death.
  • 2.5 million North Carolinians suffer from lung diseases that air pollution worsen.
  • In 2018, an estimated $460 million worth of diesel-powered truck freight rolled over  NC’s roads, ranking NC 12th nationally.
  • NC is home to several EV-related businesses, including auto manufactures like Thomas Built Buses, EV infrastructure companies like ABB, and supply chain businesses like Eaton, providing significant electric transportation job growth opportunities.
  • NC’s electricity grid gets cleaner, and the benefits of electric transportation increase and improve every day as coal plants are retired and more clean energy comes online.

Please join SACE in thanking Governor Cooper for his leadership and let him know you support transportation electrification. Let him know you think EVs kick gas!


The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Electrify the South campaign advocates for a shift to clean, electric transportation throughout the Southeast. Visit Electrify the to learn more and connect with us.

Featured image credit source: Mom’s Clean Air Force. 

Stan Cross
Stan joined the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2019. Stan leads SACE’s electric transportation policy, utility reform, and program implementation across the Southeast. Previously, Stan led and co-founded Brightfield…
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