Sustainable America Blog

8 States to Push Zero-Emission Cars

In October, governors from eight states announced an agreement to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads of their states by 2025. The states pledged to undertake actions “to help build a robust national market for electric and hydrogen-powered cars.” The participating states—California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont—represent more than 23 percent of the U.S. car market.

Some of the actions promised in the agreement include efforts to speed the construction of charging stations and other infrastructure, leading by example by including zero-emission vehicles in public fleets, and providing incentives to promote zero-emission vehicles.

The current lack of strong infrastructure to support these cars and their relative high price have been obstacles to more widespread zero-emission vehicle adoption thus far. The states plan to address both of these issues by building a stronger network of charging stations and implementing incentives like buyer rebates on zero-emission vehicles. A better EV charging network and more hydrogen-equipped filling stations will enable drivers travel further, making zero-emission car ownership more practical.

According to the CEPA Air Resources Board, “The market demand created by these state programs can help lower zero-emission vehicle costs through economies of scale and expand the range of product lines available to consumers.” That’s good news for the EV market, the environment, and consumers.

Two of the eight states in this group, California and Oregon, are among the top ten states where higher than average gas prices and lower than average electricity costs already make driving an electric vehicle cost-effective. Perhaps through this agreement, it will become easier and more affordable to drive electric in the other six states as well.

Here’s a rundown of what these eight states have done so far to spur zero-emission vehicle adoption by their residents:

California
California, which leads the nation in zero-emission sales, offers residents up to $2,500 in rebates for buying a zero-emission vehicle. California has set aside an additional $59.55 million for some 29,000 rebates through mid-2014. The state has also dedicated $20 million annually through 2024 or until 100 hydrogen stations are built, whichever comes first.

Connecticut
Connecticut launched a grant program to speed construction of 200 publicly available electric vehicle charging stations by early 2014.

Maryland
Maryland is part of the Transportation Climate Initiative, in which East Coast states are working to develop a robust charging station network along the I-95 corridor that will permit long-distance travel in electric cars throughout the region.

Massachusetts
Massachusetts pays incentives of up to $7,500 per vehicle to cities that buy electric models, and up to $15,000 for each charging station built.

New York
New York has set its own goal of adding a network of up to 3,000 charging stations over the next five years.

Oregon
Oregon has 342 electric vehicle charging locations open to the public including 66 fast chargers, more than any other state.

Rhode Island
This past summer, Rhode Island installed several new EV-charging stations, bringing the total to more than 60.

Vermont
In 2011, the Vermont Agency of Transportation set a goal that 25% of all vehicles registered in Vermont be powered by renewable energy sources by 2030 to help meet the state’s overall energy consumption goal of 90% renewable energy by 2050.

One of Sustainable America’s goals is the reduction of oil usage in the American economy, targeting a 50% reduction in oil usage from today’s levels by 2030. We are thrilled to hear about this alliance to promote zero-emission vehicles. Covering nearly a fourth of the U.S. auto market, this group of governors has the power to greatly influence the national market – bolstering the zero-emission vehicle market, building the nation’s infrastructure and efficiency, and promoting innovation and conservation.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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