A new report reveals some US states take comprehensive steps to help residents and businesses use and charge EVs, but many have done little to reduce barriers.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released the first State Transportation Electrification Scorecard and by California wins first place, leading in five of the six categories the council used to rank states.
Despite the transportation sector's responsibility for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, electric vehicles account for only 2% of the American car market. EVs, the report noted, "stand to play a critical role in reducing emissions and achieving aggressive climate goals."
Each state has the power and potential to support the EV market by removing the many barriers to EV adoption and accelerate EV charging infrastructure. The scorecard comprehensively reviewed each state and ranked the top 30 (plus the District of Columbia) based on the state's policy and program efforts to promote the much-needed electrification of transportation.
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California is the only state to set deadlines for electrifying transit buses, heavy duty trucks, and commercial vehicles and to adopt statewide building codes for wiring most types of new buildings and houses for EV charging. The other top 10, in order, are: New York, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, Oregon, and New Jersey.
The top two states ensure equitable access to electrified transportation by targeting programs for low income, economically distressed and environmental justice communities. Despite the states with noteworthy efforts, the top area of improvement for all US states is equity in EV access. Most states remain in the earliest stages of developing supportive policies and the scorecard recommends those states look to the top ranking states for "instructive examples."
On a positive note, there are many states (23) taking steps to integrate EVs and charging infrastructure into the electric grid through rate design and ongoing efforts to improve electric-system decarbonization.
The scorecard identified three policies that will provide the greatest impact to accelerate the adoption of EVs:
- Zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandates and EV deployment targets
- Financial incentives for vehicle purchases
- Incentives for installing vehicle chargers
Notably, 48 states are onboard with using federal funds to buy electric transit buses.
Additional popular state actions, in addition to planning for EVs, include rebates, tax credits, and grants to buy large electric pickups and delivery trucks (27 states), and utility funding to spur EV and EV-charging adoption in low-income areas and environmental justice communities (15 states).
The six areas the ACEEE used in its scorecard were
- Planning and setting goals for EV deployment and charging infrastructure (i.e., 12 states now use California's ZEV program for personal vehicles, which require manufacturers to offer a certain number of electric or other zero-emission vehicles each year).
- Tax credits and rebates to encourage EV purchases and charging station development, as well as HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane access.
- Ongoing improvement to improve the state's transportation system efficiency (i.e., greenhouse gas reduction targets), implementation of GHG pricing policies and the investment of electric public transit buses.
- Setting "time-varying rates" for EV charging rates at lower prices during off-peak periods (i.e., night).
- All economic levels are affected from harmful health impact from gas and diesel vehicles, but lower-income are more so, and thus could be reinforcing existing racial and economic inequities (most states scored low in efforts for this).
- State's outcomes to date, how many EV and charging facilities, how many electric transit buses and overall reduction in transportation greenhouse gas emissions.
"I'm thrilled that California is being recognized with top honors for our leadership efforts, especially at a time when Governor Newsom is doubling down on our commitment to ensuring all Californians can participate in the transition to clean transportation," said California Energy Commissioner Patty Monahan in a press release. "Our experience shows transportation electrification is a win-win: good for the economy and most importantly for the health and well-being of those affected most by air pollution from tailpipe emissions."
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