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Low and Zero Emission Vehicles (LEV/ZEV)

Light-Duty ZEVs

The federal Clean Air Act allows New York State to adopt California's ZEV standards. As a result, the State's LEV program is modeled after the California LEV program. It applies to all new on-road motor vehicles, motor vehicle engines, and emission control systems delivered for sale in the State.

The State LEV program requires all new vehicles sold in the State to also meet California emissions standards, which are more stringent than federal standards. The goal of the LEV program is to reduce emissions of smog-forming pollutants including hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen. Reducing engine pollution protects the environment and the health of the State's residents.

The LEV program also includes ZEV and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards modeled after California's programs. To meet ZEV standards, manufacturers must deliver ZEVs including:

  • Battery Electric Vehicles
  • Fuel Cell Vehicles
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

ZEVs provide an emission reduction benefit due to the absence of tailpipe emissions. PHEVs enable the development and implementation of ZEV technologies. The State's GHG standards are designed to reduce mobile source GHG emissions, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and motor vehicle air conditioning refrigerants.

ZEV and ZEV-enabling technologies are important to achieving and maintaining the long-term air quality of the State. Vehicles equipped with these technologies emit fewer smog-forming and GHG pollutants than conventional vehicles, while providing similar performance, utility, and safety attributes. In addition to emission-reduction benefits, ZEVs and PHEVs save consumers money through reduced operating expenses over the life of the vehicle, primarily through reduced fuel use.

ZEV Credit Balances

Each manufacturer shares ZEV credit and annual production data with DEC. This information is shared with the public every year. This is identical to the information released by California under their state laws and by states that have adopted California standards.

Medium- and Heavy-Duty ZEVs

Multi-State Memorandum of Understanding (MHD ZEV MOU)

DEC held a Stakeholder Outreach webinar "Consideration to Revise 6 NYCRR Part 218 to Incorporate California's Advanced Clean Trucks, Heavy-Duty Low NOx Omnibus, and Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Standards" on February 17, 2021. View the Stakeholder Outreach webinar slides (PDF)

DEC held a kick off meeting on October 21, 2020 to discuss the MHD ZEV MOU and Action Plan development. The Action Plan will identify existing barriers and propose solutions to support widespread adoption of MHD ZEVs. View the MHD ZEV MOU kick off meeting slides (PDF)

On July 14, 2020, Former Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with the governors from 14 states and the Mayor of Washington D.C., signed a joint memorandum of understanding (leaves DEC website) committing to work collaboratively to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) vehicles. MHD vehicles include large pickup trucks, vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks. The mutual goal of the signatories is to ensure that 100 percent of all new MHD vehicle sales will be ZEV by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent MHD ZEV sales by 2030. The MOU comes at an important transition point for the motor vehicle industry as investment in ZEV technology for the MHD sector is developing beyond a nascent industry.

DEC's Commissioner Basil Seggos noted, "Without federal leadership, addressing the climate crisis requires states to work together to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources. Reducing air pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will result in cleaner air for our communities-including low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that are often disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution. Today's announcement bolsters New York's ongoing efforts to electrify the transportation sector and reduce climate pollution, helping to realize our ambitious emissions reduction goals and grow a powerful green economy to benefit all communities."

A box delivery truck

The MHD ZEV MOU will support the increased electrification of the State's transportation system, reducing the GHG emissions that contribute to climate change that threatens NY's people and environment. Former Governor Cuomo established nation-leading GHG emission-reduction goals of 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050 (leaves DEC website). Meeting these aggressive goals requires a sustained transformation of the State's economy from fossil fuels to an economy powered by carbon emission-free renewable energy sources.

MHD ZEVs and GHGs

The transportation sector is the State's largest source of GHG and NOx emissions with medium- and heavy-duty vehicles having a disproportionate share compared to other mobile sources. Accelerating the move to zero emission trucks and buses is an essential step to achieve the deep economy-wide emission reductions needed to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and protect the health of millions of Americans. While trucks and buses only account for 4 percent of vehicles on the road, they are responsible for nearly 25 percent of total transportation sector GHG emissions. Emissions from trucks are the fastest growing source of GHGs, and the number of truck miles traveled on the nation's roads is forecast to continue to grow significantly in the coming decades. Clean trucks and buses promise to deliver widespread health benefits, particularly in disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color, and environmental justice areas often located near major trucking corridors, ports, and distribution hubs.

A truck hauling a large shipping container

Decarbonizing New York State's Transportation Systems

The State has already completed several critical steps to transform our existing transportation system by supporting cleaner and electric transportation through these programs.

Soon, MHD ZEV fleets will be able to take advantage of fleet assessment services offered to be developed by the State's six major investor-owned utilities.

MHD ZEV Action Plan

The signatories of the MHD ZEV MOU committed to drafting an Action Plan by early 2021. The Multi-State ZEV Task Force (leaves DEC website), coordinated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), will develop the Action Plan (leaves DEC website) to identify barriers and propose solutions to support widespread adoption of zero emission MHDs and give other considerations outlined in the MOU.

A similar action plan was completed for the Light-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle MOU (leaves DEC website) signed in 2013. The ZEV Task Force completed a light-duty Multi-State ZEV Action Plan in 2014 and a 2018-2021 Multi-State ZEV Action Plan Update in 2018.

In developing the MHD Action Plan, the Multi-State Task Force will consult with, and solicit input from, key partners and stakeholders. To support this effort, DEC has developed an MHD ZEV Action Plan stakeholder list that includes State agencies and authorities, major private fleets, non-governmental organizations, environmental justice and advocacy groups, New York State trucking associations and electric utilities.

A tractor-trailer truck

What's Next

DEC will accept input as the Multi-State ZEV Task Force develops the MHD ZEV Action Plan. Comments and suggestions can be submitted to MHDZEVPlan.Air@dec.ny.gov. Please include your name and contact information.

This webpage will be updated periodically and will include a draft MHD ZEV Action Plan, when available. Keep up with mitigation plan progress and other news about air programs in the State by subscribing to Air Mail!, our monthly email newsletter.

Additional Resources

The following links leave the DEC website: