Transportation is responsible for 54 percent of Maine's greenhouse gas emissions -- the most of any sector. As emissions in other areas declined in recent decades, transportation-related emissions increased, up from 44 percent in 1990. When broken down by type of vehicle, Maine’s transportation-related emissions are:
- 59 percent from light-duty passenger cars and trucks
- 27 percent from medium and heavy-duty trucks
- 14 percent from rail, marine, aviation, and utility equipment.
Maine's rural character and moderate emissions from other sectors also makes our transportation emissions disproportionately high compared to other states. The average Maine vehicle travels approximately 12,000 miles per year. An analysis of "Vehicle Miles Driven" in Maine has found that 65 percent of our driving occurs in rural areas, with 35 percent in urban and suburban regions.
Watch the Transportation Strategies
In addition to the emissions from Maine vehicles, Maine's transportation emissions also include the emissions from 37 million visitors per year (in 2018).
A typical gasoline vehicle emits more than 5 tons of carbon dioxide per year. That is more than four times the amount of carbon emissions as an EV that is powered by the production of electricity from the New England electrical grid.
Increased flooding and storms from climate change cause damage to roadways and other transportation infrastructure, which are often located along the coast and near rivers.
Please note: the summaries below may not reflect the comprehensive details of each proposed strategy, please see the Draft Recommendations file or slides above for a more complete description.
Increase electric vehicle (EV) use: EVs emit significantly less greenhouse gas emissions per mile compared to gas or diesel vehicles, but less than half of 1 percent of vehicles in Maine are electric. EVs have lower operating and maintenance costs, which is a consumer benefit as they become more affordable. Charging infrastructure must expand, and incentives to support EV purchases, especially for lower-income and rural residents, must be provided to encourage adoption. Costs and benefits must be applied equitably to support low income individuals in both rural and more densely populated areas of the State.
Reduce emissions from gas and diesel engines: Expand the use of alternative fuels such as renewable biofuels made from wood biomass and biodiesels (ideally from Maine) from used vegetable oils. Encourage freight companies to participate in the EPA SmartWay program, which helps improve freight efficiency and save money with new technologies such as aerodynamic design, low resistance tires, and reduced idling.
Enable Mainers and tourists to drive less:
- Decrease the number of miles Mainers must drive: Expand broadband Internet access to support remote work, medicine, education and other services.
- Enhance public transportation and shared transportation options: Expand public transportation and ride-sharing programs, including creative public transportation options in rural areas.
- Reduce commuting: Develop innovative land use development approaches and incentives that allow more Mainers to live, work, shop, and go to school in areas that can be conveniently be accessed on foot or by bicycle, or don’t require long commutes.
Adapt critical transportation infrastructure for climate change impacts: Rising sea levels, flooding increases and extreme storms are already affecting Maine, leaving infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports, airports vulnerable. Strengthen and adapt infrastructure to withstand these challenges.
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