Diesel trucks make up 7% of vehicles but create 67% of dangerous pollution. Legislation will address disproportionate burden of pollution and increase availability of zero-emission vehicles
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois lawmakers have introduced critical legislation (SB2839 and HB1634) to expand the manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), which will create jobs, spur economic growth, and guarantee clean air benefits for our communities. The legislation includes three standards – Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT), Heavy-Duty Low NOx Omnibus (HDO) and Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) – which establish a necessary foundation to continue Illinois’ leadership in the transition to a clean energy economy.
In 2023, exhaust from diesel engines in Illinois led to more than 5,000 asthma attacks, nearly 200 heart attacks, and 416 premature deaths across the state. Trucks in particular have an outsized negative impact. Despite making up only 7% of on-road vehicles, trucks are responsible for 67% of pollution.
According to the American Lung Association, electrifying the vehicle fleet in Illinois in concert with CEJA will see nearly $50 billion in public health benefits by 2050 and avoid 4,490 deaths due to vehicle pollution. The implementation of these standards will create nearly 8,500 good-paying jobs, including those in battery and electric component manufacturing, charging infrastructure construction, and electricity generation.
In addition, Illinois car owners could save $19,000 in lifetime costs when using a ZEV compared to a conventional vehicle by the time the regulation is launched. The average ZEV truck will save businesses $68,000 over the lifetime of their vehicles.
More than a dozen businesses in Illinois are working on advanced clean, fuel-efficient vehicles manufacturing, employing nearly 10,000 Illinoisans. As clean vehicle manufacturing expands, so will jobs in Illinois.
“As a leader in clean transportation, I am eager to move Clean Vehicle Standards forward and continue Illinois’ leadership across the Midwest in being a climate leader. This is the exact type of policy we’re talking about when we say Illinois can reduce emissions and create jobs while also ensuring all communities across the state have healthy air to breathe,” said State Senator Mike Simmons, chief sponsor of SB2839.
“States that adopt Advanced Clean Truck and Advanced Clean Cars standards jump to the front of the line when it comes to greater availability and faster adoption of zero-emissions vehicles,” said Alan Hoffman, Chief Policy Officer at Rivian Automotive, a manufacturer of zero-emission vans, trucks, and SUVs in Normal which employs 7.400 people and added more than 2,000 jobs between 2022-2023. “SB 2839 is an opportunity for Illinois to become the first state in the Midwest to take this step, cementing its position as a leader in clean transportation. Rivian strongly supports this legislation.”
“Adopting these Clean Vehicle Standards in Illinois will protect public health, mitigate climate change, and improve air quality across the state. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois, and the state ranks 5th in the country for the highest number of deaths per capita from diesel pollution,” said State Representative Edgar Gonzalez, chief sponsor of HB1634. “Zero-emission vehicles save lives, reduce cases of lung diseases and reduce the amount of money spent on healthcare. Not only do I represent residential areas next to heavy industrial corridors, but I live within those same parameters as my constituents. Getting more electric vehicles on the road will greatly benefit those affected by air quality pollution, not only my community but Illinoisans in general.”
“Air pollution from truck and car tailpipes triggers asthma attacks and exacerbates other lung conditions, increasing medication use, doctor office visits, hospital visits and deaths,” said Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs for Respiratory Health Association. “And those outcomes disproportionately fall on vulnerable adults and children living in lower income minority communities. In addition to less access to care and poorer health they face additional burdens from living and breathing close to vehicle pollution sources like highways, warehouses and freight yards.”
“Environmental justice (EJ) communities on the South and West sides of Chicago, and across Illinois, deserve to breathe clean air, free from diesel pollution. Illinois must join other states in adopting rules that ensure EJ communities don’t remain overburdened by polluting medium- to heavy- duty trucks,” said Melanie Minuche, Neighbors for an Equitable Transition to Zero-Emissions Coordinator (NET-Z) at Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO).
The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon pollution in Illinois, and as such, electrifying the sector is key to achieving Illinois’ climate goals. The Illinois General Assembly must pass this new legislation in order to facilitate the transition towards a cleaner transportation system. With these standards in place, the supply of cleaner vehicles on the road will increase, providing significant health and economic benefits while also providing benefits to all utility customers.
The ACT rule requires manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of new medium- and heavy-duty trucks as ZEVs, guaranteeing that a minimum number of these clean, cost-saving vehicles are available in Illinois. The HDO rule reduces health-harming NOx (nitrogen oxide) pollution from new gasoline and diesel engines by 90%. If adopted in 2024, the rules would go into effect in 2028. The benefits of ACT/HDO include:
- $2.6 billion per year in net societal benefits. These gains include $1.2 billion in net fleet savings and $63 million in utility net revenue, totaling nearly $26.4 billion by 2050.
- $9 billion in public health benefits by 2050 including 765 fewer premature deaths, 874 fewer hospital visits from breathing polluted air, and 481,090 fewer cases of acute bronchitis, exacerbated asthma, and other respiratory symptoms.
- 8,400 new jobs to the state by 2045, supporting CEJA and further growth in clean energy jobs in Illinois. These include jobs in battery and electric component manufacturing, charging infrastructure construction, and electricity generation.
The ACC II rule is a set of regulations that will reduce smog-causing pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Illinois’ light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleets by requiring a ramp-up of ZEV sales from 35% in 2026 to 100% in 2035. ACC II enforces the annual ZEV requirements on automakers alone and includes a variety of flexibilities that are designed to help them meet these requirements.
- $5.5 billion in cumulative public health benefits by 2050 including 416 fewer premature deaths, 420 fewer hospital visits, and 246,263 fewer minor cases of illness.
- Illinois car owners could save $19,000 in lifetime costs when using a ZEV compared to a conventional vehicle by the time the regulation is launched.
- $169 billion in net societal benefits by 2050, supported by industry investment. The industry has already committed billions of dollars in ZEV investments to ramp up the ZEV market share to 100%.
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC) is made up of hundreds of environmental advocacy organizations, businesses, community leaders, consumer advocates, environmental justice groups, and faith-based and student organizations working together to improve public health and the environment, protect consumers, and create equitable, clean jobs across the state. After more than three years of community organizing and policy leadership, in 2021, ICJC was instrumental in helping pass the nation-leading Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA).