It’s long past time for Connecticut’s legislators to step up and tackle two interrelated crises bedeviling the state’s transportation sector, and us all. Both involve the need to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels— namely gas and diesel — that continue to account for 94 percent of the fuel used for transportation. Approving new clean car and clean truck standards would mark a significant step toward ensuring healthier air for everyone in Connecticut.
The latest data from Department of Energy and Environmental Protection show the state’s transportation sector is the single largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, 40 percent of all emissions, significantly higher than the sector’s nationwide share of 28 percent of GHG emissions. Our state is not on track to meet mandated greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, emissions are going up, not down.
Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution in our congested state — exhaust from tailpipes as well as brake and tire wear and road dust — has been linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, asthma, lung cancer and death. The American Lung Association gives half of the state’s counties an “F” for ozone pollution and calculates that switching from fossil fuels in the transportation and electric sectors in Connecticut would prevent 1,250 deaths, 143,000 lost workdays and result in $13.7 billion in public health benefits between 2020 and 2050.