A diverse group of organizations, 67 in total, are putting peer pressure on the governors of 11 states to advance electric car adoption. Why would they do that? Oh, you know, electric cars don’t emit any air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions, are cleaner even on a lifecycle basis, create US jobs, reduce our dependence on oil (and all the economic and political volatility and costs that come with that), etc, etc.
These 67 organizations have sent a letter to the governors or governors-elect of New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
“We are writing to encourage you to support electric vehicles (EVs) as a top priority for your administrations going forward. EVs provide major benefits for consumers, the regional economy, energy independence, public health, and the environment. With your leadership, we can accelerate our progress into the electric vehicle future,” the letter starts out.
Towards the end, the letter also highlights how much greener electric cars are: “With the current electricity generation mix in the region, a car that only uses electricity from the grid will be responsible for 50-70% less greenhouse gas pollution than a comparable gasoline-only vehicle. As we shift to cleaner sources of electricity, public health and environmental benefits of EVs will only increase over time.”
More importantly to many consumers, there’s also the matter of financial savings. “Electric vehicles have established a solid foothold in the market over the last few years,” said Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney for Acadia Center (formerly ENE (Environment Northeast)). “Even at current gas prices, an average driver can save over $400 per year in fuel costs by switching from gasoline to electricity. Each of these states has a wide range of steps that they can take to support progress on EVs and ultimately make them affordable for everyone.”
Very specifically, the letter calls for these state leaders to do six things, which are:
1. Establishing or Continuing a High-Level EV Task Force – An official task force or commission, such as those currently operating in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont, is a strategic way for a state to advance EV policies. Stakeholders should include agency leadership, utility companies, car manufacturers, EV infrastructure companies, and public interest advocacy groups.
2. Providing Financial and Non-Financial Incentives – Consumer and business interest in EVs can be spurred by establishing financial incentives for vehicles and fueling infrastructure, such as rebates and tax credits, supported by reliable funding streams. Non-financial incentives, such as HOV lane access and preferential parking, can also create additional interest in EVs.
3. Creating a Utility Framework to Increase Adoption and Maximize Benefits – Benefits of electric vehicles for owners and the electric grid as a whole can be optimized through innovative utility programs, including electricity rate design, demand response and other vehicle-grid integration programs, grid planning and targeted infrastructure investments, and vehicle registry reporting with appropriate privacy protections.
4. Facilitating Build-out of Charging Infrastructure – To motivate investment and create a competitive market, states should eliminate regulatory barriers to infrastructure ownership and operation. Incentives can target challenging market segments, such as workplaces, multi-family buildings, and neighborhoods without off-street parking. National standards for charging station measurement accuracy and price disclosure should be adopted to protect consumers and “open access” policies should allow drivers to use public charging stations. Appropriate additions to building codes and streamlining of permitting requirements can minimize the costs of needed infrastructure.
5. Educating Consumers, Businesses, Workplaces, Dealerships, and Municipalities – Raising awareness about electric vehicles and infrastructure installations should be a priority. We need better ways to inform the public about EVs as a fun and affordable way to get around. Clear and accurate signage to direct drivers is also important.
6. Leading by Example – States should adopt binding targets for EV procurement in state fleets, implement policies to maximize “electric miles” driven by government fleet vehicles, and provide fueling infrastructure for employees at state workplaces.
Well, this is all something EV Obsession agrees with and supports. So, governors, get on it!