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Electrification is Key to Improving Freight Transportation in California

Moving California ForwardThe California Cleaner Freight Coalition (CCFC) released a report today entitled, Moving California Forward, Zero and Low-Emissions Freight Pathways, which evaluates alternatives to conventional diesel vehicles for the purpose of freight transportation. One of the key findings in the report was that electric transportation technologies provide the greatest overall reduction of pollutants. The report indicates that regulating freight and improving air quality is possible through technologies that are either available today or can be commercialized with appropriate investments and support from policymakers. The CCFC has developed this report urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to implement long-term strategies for a sustainable freight plan sooner rather than later.

“It is critical that California has a clear plan to clean up our freight industry in 2014,” said Jesse Marquez, executive director of Californians for a Safe Environment.

The report findings also include:

  • Electric transportation technologies could eliminate tailpipe emissions in communities impacted by freight movement.
  • Moving goods by train and ship for regional trips could reduce emissions well beyond today’s cleanest diesel trucks.
  • Transporting containers double-stacked on railcars powered by the cleanest locomotives can reduce particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75 percent.

The Coalition cautions that any shift in freight movement to rail or ship, while providing regional pollution benefits, would need to ensure reduction in emissions, exposure, and health risks to those communities close to rail yards, rail lines, ports and shipping lanes.

“The cost of cleaning up the trucking and freight industry in California is nothing compared to the lost lives, elevated cancer risk, chronic respiratory conditions and other costs Californians have shouldered for years,” said Margaret Gordon, co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. “Low-income communities, in particular, are paying with their health to allow the freight industry to do business in California.”