April 21, 2021
Dear President Biden:
As bipartisan Governors from across the country, we strongly support your efforts to improve public health, tackle the climate crisis, and advance environmental justice. Central to all three of these goals is greatly reducing pollution from the transportation sector. By establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emission, we can finally clear the air and create high-road jobs. Moving quickly towards a zero-emission transportation future will protect the health of all communities. The proposed investments in the American Jobs Plan can be leveraged even further by a strong regulatory framework and will allow the market for American-made zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) to flourish.
States across the country have already accelerated this transition:
- California has already directed that all new cars sold in the state be ZEVs by 2035 and is investing billions of dollars as well as taking regulatory action to implement this goal.
- Connecticut has committed to an ambitious electric vehicle (EV) adoption goal of putting between 125,000 - 150,000 EVs on the road by 2025. In April 2020, Connecticut released its EV Roadmap focused on transitioning public and private fleets and medium and heavy-duty vehicles to EVs through improving charging; ensuring grid reliability; integrating charging infrastructure into codes and permitting; and leveraging financial incentives, such as the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR), to help make the EV purchase price less of a barrier to consumers, including used EVs. As one of the first signatories to the Transportation and Climate Initiative MOU, if authorized by the legislature, Connecticut will have the opportunity to invest proceeds from the program into EV infrastructure, including electrifying our public transit system, driving down pollution and cleaning the air in our overburdened communities.
- Ground transportation emissions are the largest share of Hawaii’s energy emissions. To meet its statutory target "to sequester more greenhouse gases than emitted as soon as practicable but no later than 2045," policies supporting cleaner transportation are critical. The State of Hawaii is leading by example and replacing state and county fleets using innovative procurement for sustainability-as-a-service to lease electric vehicles and charging stations.
- As part of Maine’s ambitious climate action plan - Maine Won’t Wait - Governor Mills has committed to putting at least 219,000 ZEVs on the road by 2030, while committing to purchase 100% light-duty ZEVs for the state fleet in the same time frame.
- To meet the Commonwealth's ambitious commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions in 2050 and reduce the harmful effects of air pollution, Massachusetts has made significant commitments to increase the number of ZEVs in our state. The clean car and truck standards are a critical tool that align with our investments in vehicle electrification, including over $60 million to support rebates for electric vehicle and truck adoption, and $80 million in charging infrastructure.
- New Mexico is working on the adoption of clean car standards and pursuing development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure along major highways in the Intermountain West as a signatory of the Regional Electric Vehicle Plan for the West (REV West) Memorandum of Understanding.
- New Jersey announced this year an investment of over $100 million in equitable transportation electrification projects to improve air quality and reduce the effects of climate change, and is developing a regional action plan with the goal that by 2050 all new medium and heavy duty trucks sold are ZEVs.
- New York is investing more than $1 billion in zero emissions cars, trucks and buses and ZEV fueling infrastructure over the next five years, including an $85 million competition to deploy innovative clean transportation strategies in communities overburdened by vehicular emissions, and is developing a groundbreaking plan to achieve net zero emissions across the state's economy.
- North Carolina is implementing strategic plans to achieve its statewide ZEV goals, participating in the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, and distributing close to $100 million toward a clean vehicle transition.
- Oregon has a goal for at least 90% of new motor vehicles sold annually to be zero-emission by 2035, a goal Oregon would like to expand to 100% with the help of supportive federal policy.
- In 2015, Rhode Island set a goal that a minimum of 25% of new light-duty state fleet purchases and leases will be zero-emissions vehicles by 2025 (Executive Order 15-17), and with Governor McKee's signature on the 2021 Act on Climate, state agencies are charged to lead by example when it comes to vehicle emissions.
- Washington is a full participant in the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, and will adopt the full suite of California light, medium and heavy-duty clean vehicle standards by the end of 2021. Washington has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation electrification for passenger cars, trucks, buses and marine vessels.
More than 24 states have worked together to defend the stringency of clean car standards over the past four years, and fifteen states plus the District of Columbia are already collaborating on an MOU to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The environmental and economic benefits of this leadership are significant: For instance, 34 ZEV manufacturers providing 70,000 Californian jobs are producing what has become the state's number one export.
From China to the European Union, a race has begun to lead the zero-emission manufacturing revolution. As a result, many automakers have made bold commitments to manufacture solely ZEVs in the near future. With bold federal leadership, American workers will lead the way in designing, building and driving clean and affordable vehicles. Strong support of ZEVs is also fundamental to keeping America competitive in the global marketplace. As Governors, we respectfully request that your Administration build on this momentum by:
- Setting standards to ensure that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold are zero-emission no later than 2035 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress.
- Setting standards for medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles and supporting complementary policies such as purchase incentives and infrastructure investments, that set a path towards 100% zero-emission sales by no later than 2045 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress.
- Expeditiously restoring strong scientifically based greenhouse gas emission standards for all vehicle model years possible to replace the unsupported standards from the previous administration. This will recover all of the emission reductions and other important benefits that were lost during the past four years.
- Reaffirming that states have authority to follow vehicle emissions standards set by California, if they choose to do so.
- Providing states with substantial funding for investment in charging and fueling infrastructure, providing grants or other financial support for fleet turnover to ZEVs, providing underserved communities equitable access to ZEVs and charging and fueling infrastructure, and supporting ZEV marketing.
- Enhancing the existing electric vehicle tax credits by raising or removing the limits per manufacturer and extending tax credits to sales of medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles.
- Ensuring that purchase incentives for ZEVs incorporate strategies targeting low-income buyers as well as expand incentives to used ZEVs focusing rebates at the point of sale.
- Enacting new tax credits for the manufacturing of zero-emission trucks and buses as well as ZEV charging and fueling stations.
- Working to repeal the statutory provision (23 USC § 111) that appears to prohibit the installation of zero-emission recharging/refueling stations along interstate rights of way, including rest areas.
We are excited to build back better with you and are committed to taking action to advance this crucial agenda.
Governor Ned Lamont
State of Connecticut
Governor Charlie Baker
State of Massachusetts
Governor Kate Brown
State of Oregon
Governor Roy Cooper
State of North Carolina
Governor Andrew Cuomo
State of New York
Governor David Ige
State of Hawaii
Governor Jay Inslee
State of Washington
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
State of New Mexico
Governor Dan McKee
State of Rhode Island
Governor Janet Mills
State of Maine
Governor Phillip D. Murphy
State of New Jersey
Governor Gavin Newsom
State of California
cc: The Honorable Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor
The Honorable John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
The Honorable Jennifer Granholm, Secretary, Department of Energy
The Honorable Michael Regan, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
The Honorable Pete Buttigieg, Secretary, Department of Transportation