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April 5, 2021 11:45 AM, EDT

Maine Gov. Mills’ Executive Order Aims to Accelerate Vehicle Electrification

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Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order to accelerate “clean transportation solutions” through measures such as increased charging infrastructure and more electric vehicles.

Specifically, the executive order called for the development of the “Clean Transportation Roadmap to 2030” to identify policies, programs and regulatory changes needed to meet Maine’s electric vehicles (EV) and emissions reduction goals. Potential strategies include incentive programs and utility rate policies.

The road map will develop recommendations associated with enhancing the EV market in Maine, expanding charging infrastructure, evaluating impacts on electric utilities and the power grid and ensuring an equitable transition to clean transportation. The clean transportation road map is due to Mills by Dec. 30, 2021.

“The Maine economy can benefit from leading in the advancement of the future of transportation, and emissions reduction in the transportation sector will be maximized through the use of a comprehensive and consistent approach to monitoring and guiding electrification efforts and expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” the executive order states.

One major goal for Maine leaders is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. According to the executive order, the transportation sector is the source of 54% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Maine. The state maintains an overall goal of reducing emissions to 45% below 1990 levels by 2030.

The state’s four-year climate action plan, titled “Maine Won’t Wait,” estimates Maine needs 219,000 light-duty EVs on the road network by 2030 in order to meet its emissions targets. Currently, EVs account for fewer than .5% of registered vehicles in Maine. However, due to advancing technology, reductions in cost and increasing consumer demand, the amount of EVs on roadways is expected to grow in the coming years. In terms of heavier vehicles, the action plan identifies garbage trucks, school buses and transit buses as opportunities for electrification.

The action plan notes 59% of Maine’s transportation-related emissions are from passenger cars and light-duty trucks, while 27% are from medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The remaining 14% come from the rail, marine, aviation and utility equipment vehicle sectors. “Maine Won’t Wait” was assembled by the Maine Climate Council, which operates within the governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future.

Maine Executive Order by Transport Topics

“Growing the number of clean vehicles in Maine to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation is a key opportunity to address climate change,” said Hannah Pingree, co-chair of the Maine Climate Council. “The clean transportation road map will make recommendations to ensure Maine consumers have affordable options for EVs and access to charging infrastructure that meets the needs of rural and urban drivers alike.”

The governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future and the governor’s Energy Office, in tandem with the Maine Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection and Efficiency Maine, an independent trust, will lead work on the road map.

“A clean transportation road map is a proactive step that will allow Maine to address future transportation needs while contributing to the work against climate change,” said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note. “Increased consumer interest in electric vehicles coupled with delivery commitments from automakers will help put us on a path to a clean transportation future.”

Besides the road map, the executive order also created a recognition program for auto dealers and other businesses, local government agencies and nonprofit groups involved in leading clean transportation efforts. Through events and promotions, this program will recognize private and public sector clean vehicle achievements in areas such as vehicle sales, fleet conversions and educational programming.

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