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Legislators paving the way for more clean trucks in Maryland

Truck traffic along Highway 83 in Baltimore City.
Kristen Mosbrucker
Truck traffic along Highway 83 in Baltimore City.

Legislation that would require an increasing number of zero-emission medium and heavy duty trucks be sold in Maryland is closer to clearing the Maryland General Assembly.

The Clean Trucks Act passed the House of Delegates Wednesday on a vote of 100-36. It had already been approved in the Senate.

Del. Sara Love, a Democrat from Montgomery County and the bill’s sponsor in the House, said there are technical differences between the House and Senate versions but that they should be resolved quickly.

In debate on the House floor Monday, Del. Christopher Adams, a Republican from the Eastern Shore, said the clean truck legislation would hit farmers and truck drivers who would have to fork over more money for pricier electric vehicles.

“The tool of the trade if you are a workman is your truck,” Adams said. “The tool of the trade is you are a truck driver is that cab and that truck doing interstate commerce.”

But Del. Love pushed back.

“No one’s mandated to buy these trucks, full stop,” Love said. “If a farmer wants to continue to use their diesel truck, they may.”

Love said the legislation is an incentive for manufacturers to build clean trucks.

“Nothing in this bill says gas or diesel engines cannot be produced,” Love said. “Nothing in this bill says anybody has ro buy a clean truck.”

The legislation would tie Maryland to California’s clean truck regulations. They require an increasing percentage of annual sales of zero-emission medium and heavy trucks in the state beginning in 2027.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about one quarter of greenhouse gasses from vehicles are due to medium and heavy duty trucks.

The Maryland General Assembly in 2022 passed legislation committing the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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