As Extreme Weather Continues, NY Pushes to Reduce Vehicle Emissions
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
ALBANY, N.Y. - Clean-energy groups are touting new zero-emissions vehicle initiatives in New York, part of the state's ongoing effort to reduce the greenhouse gases that scientists say are primarily responsible for global warming.
The new act establishes that new passenger cars and light trucks sold in New York must be zero-emission by 2035. Medium and heavy-duty vehicles must follow suit by 2045.
While the goal is ambitious, Deb Peck Kelleher, director of policy analysis and operations for Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said it can be reached with added sale locations, among other initiatives.
"A lot of vehicles in those next 14 years will age out and need to be replaced," she said. "If we put in a number of pieces behind the goal, to make sure that consumers can go to the dealership and can purchase the vehicle that they want locally, I think that we'll get there a lot quicker."
A bill in the New York Legislature also would expand the number of retail locations that can sell all-electric vehicles. Other proposals would create incentives for school districts to purchase electric buses, and allow state sales-tax exemptions on the first 35,000 of a hybrid electric-vehicle purchase.
Gov. Kathy Hochul also has directed the state Department of Environmental Conservation to release a proposed regulation similar to California's law to reduce diesel pollution.
Peck Kelleher said this would most affect people who live in high-traffic areas.
"The zero-emission requirements in the Advanced Clean Truck Rule are crucial to public health and equity, and improving air quality in these neighborhoods and ensuring access to clean transportation," she said.
Studies show Black, Latino, and Asian American communities are disproportionately exposed to air pollution as a result of living near highways. And with more severe weather events affecting New York, Peck Kelleher added that there's been greater recognition that transitioning vehicle production from gas-powered to electric must happen.
"Change is hard," she said, "and I think people are just economically looking at it, to figure out where they will end up in the new electrified universe."
Under the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, statewide greenhouse-gas emissions must be reduced to 40% of their 1990 levels by 2030.
Disclosure: Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Inc. contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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