Statement by Sue Jones, NRCM energy project director
Today marks a great day for cleaner air in Maine! After working to bring less polluting cars to Maine for nearly ten years, the Natural Resources Council of Maine joins the Governor, our friend Adam Lee of Lee Auto Malls, and our coalition partners, in finally getting the chance to celebrate.
This law will bring more cleaner, less polluting cars, trucks and SUVs to Maine sooner. It will give Maine car buyers first dibs to select and buy the cleanest, most efficient vehicles that Detroit can deliver.
This program requires carmakers to ramp up Maine deliveries of super-clean gasoline-powered and hybrid gas-electric vehicles. By the model year 2009 (which begins on January 2, 2008), they must deliver at least 4% hybrids (ATP-ZEVs) and 6% super-clean conventional vehicles (PZEVs) as a percentage of their individual total sales in Maine.
Already, more than 27 gasoline-powered car, truck and SUV models meet these super-clean standards, including the popular Ford Focus, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, all wheel drive vehicles like the Subaru Outback, and luxury cars such as BMWs and Volvos. In addition, four models now meet the hybrid standards, with many more models on the way in the next few years.
Today, Maine joins six other states that have already adopted this program (CA, NY, MA, VT, CT, RI) and two more (NJ and WA) where it is on the books and pending implementation. Car sales in these states make up nearly 30% of all US sales combined. Add that to Canada’s recent adoption of cleaner car policies, and North America is nearing a major tipping point towards cleaner car and truck manufacturing. We urge carmakers to stop fighting good initiatives like ours in Maine and to lead by example to give us cleaner, more efficient driving options.
Car and truck emissions affect our health, environment and quality of life. The 1.1 million registered cars and trucks in Maine cause most of the air pollution, and nearly 40% of the global warming pollution generated in Maine. Because cars and trucks put out such vast amounts of pollution, even modest changes in the vehicles that Mainers drive can bring significant improvements. Because cars are such an integral part of our society, virtually everyone in Maine is exposed to unhealthy car and truck emissions.
This new law puts us on the road to a cleaner, more efficient future. While Maine has more to do to tackle emissions from cars and trucks, this law ensures that we are on the right road. Thank you.