Representative Levin, Senator Merkley Introduce Major Legislation to Transition America to 100% Zero-Emission Vehicles

May 15, 2019
Press Release
The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2019 will position America to lead the global auto industry into the 21st Century

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2019, which presents an aggressive plan for transitioning the United States to 100% zero-emission vehicles. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO) is an original cosponsor of the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act in the House, and it is also cosponsored by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the Senate.

This plan will position the United States to lead the world in vehicle innovation, combat the climate crisis, and reduce premature deaths caused by the pollution that gasoline engines produce.

“The climate crisis is a defining issue of our time, and we must pursue bold measures commensurate with the enormous challenge we face,” said Levin. “We can combat climate change aggressively, improve public health, and lead the world in manufacturing innovative technology by embracing zero emissions vehicles at the same time. I am proud to lead ambitious legislation that will accomplish all of those critical goals.”

“The future of our planet is at stake, and so is the future of our economy,” said Merkley. “If we lead the world in cutting-edge vehicle deployment, we can beat our global competitors, create good jobs here in America, and win the innovation race for new technologies. This legislation embraces the opportunity for America to sell to the world the revolutionary technology that will make our air cleaner, communities healthier, and workforce stronger.”  

“Transportation is currently the largest source of carbon emissions in America; this needs to change. As we work to combat the existential threat of climate change with bold urgency, prioritizing a transition to clean transportation through zero-emission vehicles is absolutely essential. It will benefit our nation’s economy and improve public health. Countries across the globe have stepped up to make this transition, and it is important that the United States be a leader in clean energy vehicle innovation to position ourselves for the future,” said Neguse. “I’m proud to co-lead this effort with Representative Levin to secure a clean future environment for the next generation and act boldly to achieve our sustainability goals.”

According to a 2016 report issued by the American Lung Association, transitioning to zero-emission vehicles would deliver $33 billion in total health and climate savings by 2050. The 90% reduction in the pollution that causes smog and soot would translate to 195,000 fewer lost workdays, 96,000 fewer asthma attacks, and 2,200 fewer premature deaths.

Ten states currently require that a certain percentage of new vehicles sold within the state must be zero-emission vehicles. While state commitments like these play a vital role in the transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles, a federal policy is needed to ensure the entire country experiences the benefits of ZEVs in protecting public health and reducing lost workdays.

How the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2019 works:

The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act would set a Federal Zero-Emissions Vehicle standard to boost the market for battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The standard would require that by 2030, 50% of sales for new passenger vehicles are ZEVs, and ramp up 5% each year to 100% by 2040. The ZEV standard is only applied to the sale of new cars.

A copy of the Zero Emission Vehicles Act of 2019 can be found here.

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