Press Release

Illinois Poised to Improve Public Health & Economy by Adopting Clean Truck Policies

New Report Analyzes Impacts of Cleaner Trucks on Environment, Health, Industry and the Economy

Jesus Canchola Sanchez
jcanchola@nrdc.org, (312) 847-6808 

SPRINGFIELD, IL - A new report on the pollution impacts coming from heavy trucks in Illinois points to massive public health benefits and up to 14,000 new jobs that would likely come from policies bringing cleaner trucks and vehicles to the state's roads in the coming years. The new Illinois Clean Trucks Program report highlights the disproportionate impact of medium- and heavy-duty trucks on the state’s roadways and evaluates the health and economic impacts of policies that would shift them to cleaner options. The Environmental Resources Management (ERM) report was developed on behalf of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

In Illinois, medium- and heavy-duty (M/HD) vehicles are currently responsible for a disproportionate amount of pollution from on-road vehicles. These vehicles are responsible for 67% of the nitrogen oxide and 59% of the particulate matter emitted by on-road vehicles. These pollutants contribute to poor air quality and negative health impacts in many urban areas, particularly low-income and communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by emissions from freight movement due to their proximity to transportation infrastructure.  

"Freight is a major part of the Chicago area economy, but air pollution caused by diesel emissions disproportionately harms Black and Latino communities in the region,” said José Acosta Córdova, Environmental Planning and Research Organizer at Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. “This report shows how the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule and the NOx Omnibus rule will set Illinois on the path towards achieving zero-emission freight and mitigating the negative impacts of diesel-powered vehicles." 

The report summarizes the projected environmental and economic effects of Illinois adopting policies requiring manufacturers to sell a greater number of M/HD, low and no-emission vehicles over the next 30 years. Three specific clean truck policy scenarios were evaluated: 

  • ACT Rule Adoption: Illinois adopts requirements analogous to those adopted by California under the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Rule, which requires an increasing percentage of new trucks purchased in the state to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in the 2025 model year.  
  • ACT and HDO Rule Adoption: In addition to adopting the ACT Rule, Illinois adopts requirements analogous to those adopted by California under the Heavy-Duty Low-NOx Omnibus (HDO) Rule. This rule requires an additional 75% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions from the engines in new gasoline and diesel trucks sold between model year 2025 and 2026, and a 90% reduction for trucks sold beginning in the 2027 model year.  
  • HDO Rule and 100% ZEV Sales and Clean Electric Grid by 2040 (100 x 40 ZEV): In addition to adopting the ACT and HDO Rules, Illinois takes further actions to ensure more rapid and continued increases in new ZEV sales, such that all new trucks are ZEV by 2040 and a shift to cleaner electricity generation sources.  

“Chicago’s role as a major freight and rail hub means that we have tens of thousands of trucks passing through our neighborhoods daily, causing air pollution hotspots and respiratory health issues particularly in communities of color that have been impacted heavily from COVID-19,” says Linda Trey, Clean Transportation Organizer at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Electrifying diesel trucks is necessary to address the climate crisis and an important step towards cleaning up toxic air pollution.” 

The report points to public health benefits of almost $9B over 30 years if the ACT and HDO rules are adopted. And the strongest scenario could reach $10.3B in positive health impacts over the same time period. 

“Transitioning to zero-emission medium and heavy-duty trucks is critical for Illinois' economy, environment, and the health of our communities,” said Nate Baguio, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at Lion Electric. “We are a testament to helping drive economic growth in the state with the building of a 900,000 square foot facility in Joliet that will manufacture all electric trucks. By adopting the Advanced Clean Truck rule, Illinois can cement its leadership in heavy-duty electric vehicles and generate hundreds of good-paying jobs.” 

Adoption of ACT and HDO Rules will support further growth in clean energy jobs in Illinois, directly adding almost 8,400 new jobs to the state by 2045. The strongest scenario would add over 14,000 new jobs by 2045. The largest number of added jobs are in electrical component manufacturing and charging infrastructure construction, requiring many well-paid electricians and electrical engineers. 

“This report shows that electric truck policy leadership, such as implementing the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, will be good for Illinois’ economy and environment,” said Chris Nevers, Senior Director of Public Policy at Rivian, electric vehicle manufacturer. 

The policy scenarios produce significant reduction in nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions from the M/HD fleet that would improve air quality resulting in public health benefits from reduced mortality and hospital visits. There would also be reduced cases of acute bronchitis, exacerbated asthma, and other respiratory symptoms, and fewer restricted activity days and lost workdays.   

“Clean truck policies would advance Illinois’ national leadership on climate change by cutting pollution from the transportation sector,” said J.C. Kibbey, Illinois Clean Energy Advocate at NRDC. “Transportation is our state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks create an outsized share of the pollution that’s heating our planet and hurting our communities. These policies will make Illinoisians healthier and safer while creating good-paying jobs in our state.” 

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ERM is the business of sustainability. As the largest global pure-play sustainability consultancy, ERM partners with the world’s leading organizations, creating innovative solutions to sustainability challenges and unlocking commercial opportunities that meet the needs of today while preserving opportunities for future generations. 

Union of Concerned Scientists is a national nonprofit organization founded more than 50 years ago by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We use rigorous, independent science to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. Today, we are a group of nearly 250 scientists, analysts, policy experts and strategic communicators dedicated to that purpose.   

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. 

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