On Tuesday, December 18, a coalition of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia announced their intention to develop a low-carbon transportation strategy. Transportation accounts for approximately 28% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States. Most of these states have already agreed to reduce GHG emissions from power plants, which also account for 28% of the national total of GHG emissions.
This agreement was reached through the work of the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI held listening sessions around the region; Plug In America staff attended several of these sessions and participated in discussions about the technologies and policies needed for a clean transportation future. Other attendees also recognized the vital role electric vehicles (EVs) have to play in this strategy. EVs produce no tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. While there are emissions produced at the power plants that supply the electricity and in the process of manufacturing EVs, the total GHG emissions from electric vehicles are still considerably below those of gasoline vehicles. Additionally, the power plants in most of these states are subject to a cap-and-trade program, and emissions from that sector are declining. Furthermore, drivers of EVs can reduce or eliminate their electricity-related emissions by buying green power.
A commitment by the states to develop a strategy is a good starting point; Plug In America will remain engaged in public processes to actually develop that strategy. We will advocate the inclusion of policies to support deployment of EVs and EV infrastructure (such as charging stations). As well, we will seek to encourage other states in the region (such as Maine, New Hampshire, and New York) to join the agreement.