TriMet moves to buy electric buses, diesel free by 2040

Today, the TriMet Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution to begin buying electric buses and to be completely diesel-free by 2040.

We applaud TriMet for committing to transform its dirty diesel fleet to a modern electric fleet that greatly reduces life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, eliminates air pollution at the tailpipe, and saves the agency money.

Why is this so important?

  • Climate change is no longer a distant threat. It not only exacerbates current inequities, but also presents intergenerational inequities. As we consider who is alive today and fairness toward generations yet to be born, there is no issue greater than climate change. It is truly an existential crisis.

However, despite its best intentions, Oregon is not on track to meet its climate goals, especially when it comes to the transportation sector (the single largest source of GHG emissions). In fact, under the current trajectory Oregon will only reduce transportation emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2050, rather than the necessary 80%. And Oregon will never get to 80% below without electrifying transportation.

  • Diesel is also a source of toxic air pollution. Although new diesel buses are cleaner, electric buses are the best. E-buses produce zero air pollution at the tailpipe. And the greatest immediate health benefits will come about by using e-buses on routes that serve low-income and community of color communities.
  • Electric buses are already cheaper than diesel buses on a life-cycle basis, which frees up dollars for other important needs, like more transit service, and that delta will only get better as more transit agencies choose electric and create economies of scale.

The benefits of going electric are actually even larger than TriMet’s analysis predicts. Their analysis examines NOx (an air pollutant), CO2 (a climate pollutant), and noise, but doesn’t examine the social costs of air toxics in diesel exhaust, which—when reduced—will result in less cancer and longer lives. In addition, the climate benefits are analyzed based on today’s electricity grid rather than Oregon’s rapidly improving grid. Our in-state, coal-fired power plant will shut down by 2020, and no coal will be imported to power our grid by 2030. As cleaner renewable energy continues to displace fossil-fuel energy, the climate benefits of electric buses will be even greater.

Transit districts across the country have committed to purchasing electric buses and to purchasing no new diesel buses. In Oregon, Wilsonville’s transit agency, SMART, is even seeking to power its e-bus charging infrastructure with solar power. These agencies realize that solving the climate crisis requires leadership—committing to reducing ones own emissions so that others are encouraged to follow. Knitted together, the actions of many will change the world.

While Oregon Environmental Council would prefer to see more urgency in TriMet’s pilot program every diesel bus TriMet continues to purchase locks in 16 more years of pollution  the most important thing is that TriMet has taken the first step to eliminate diesel buses. We thank TriMet for becoming a leader today.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Policy Featured Toxic Free Priorities Transportation Solutions Air Quality OEC News/Updates/Events Media/PR/Statements Toxics-Free Environments
Sort by

Out with the old: The Fortunate Demise of Dirty Diesel Engines

Diesel exhaust is uniquely toxic—it causes cancer; harms lungs, hearts and brains; and contributes to A
August 12, 2019, 9:57 pm


The 5 Ws of electric buses

August 1, 2019, 5:39 pm


Oregon Legislature Passes Bill To Curb Toxic Diesel Exhaust

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Oregonians from Diesel Pollution
June 30, 2019, 9:06 pm


Oregon House Votes to Curb Diesel Pollution

Old dirty diesel engines may soon be on their way out SALEM — Diesel
June 21, 2019, 10:21 pm


Who cares about diesel pollution?

March 28, 2019, 6:05 pm


Diesel pollution and health

Diesel exhaust is costing Oregon billions of dollars each year in health care costs, lost lives and missed work and school. “In pediatrics, we want to prevent kids from getting sick. We are asking parents to take individual action. But there’s nothing we can do to get them to prevent exposing their kids to air pollution. It’s only good public policy that can help protect kids in that way.” — Dr. Paul Lewis, MD, MPH; Tri-County Health Officer Diesel exhau
February 7, 2019, 10:00 pm


HB 2007: Diesel Clean-Up Bill

Passed by the Oregon Legislature on June 30, 2019, HB 2007 is the 2nd strongest diesel legislation in the nation. Diesel pollution is one of Oregon’s greatest toxic air pollution problems, costing us billions in lost lives and health care costs across the state. Years ago, Oregon set a goal of reducing diesel pollution to meet the state’s health benchmark. Today, we are only 2% of the way towards achieving our
February 7, 2019, 7:43 pm


New report: Oregon fails on diesel

This month, Oregon’s cross-agency team of experts made it very clear: None of our current efforts to reduce diesel pollution have worked, or will work, to meet our state’s goals for protecting human and environmental health. “Diesel emissions impacts to human health and the environment are not being adequately addressed by the DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] or through Toxics Reduction Strategy planning.” This matter-of-fact statement, and details about Orego
January 30, 2019, 6:21 pm


Decades of diesel

Oregon’s path to clearing the air of diesel pollution is a long one, but 2019 is the year to get serious about solutions. Check out our timeline for the policies—and missed deadlines—that have led us to this moment of change. 
January 14, 2019, 3:28 pm


Salem Diesel Awareness Project

November 14, 2018, 11:38 pm


No Replies to "TriMet moves to buy electric buses, diesel free by 2040"

    Got something to say?

    Some html is OK