8 US states come together to put zero-emission vehicles on roads

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Governors of eight states are committed to seeing more environmentally friendly cars on city streets

In another step towards more environmentally friendly roads, eight states announced this week they are banding together to put millions of zero-emissions cars on city streets within the next 12 years.

Governors of California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont pledged to have 3.3 million eco-friendly vehicles on their state’s roadways by 2025. The announcement comes with an eye towards the US’ 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets.

“Accelerating the ZEV (Zero-Emissions Vehicles) market is a critical strategy for achieving our goals to reduce transportation-related air pollution, including criteria air pollutants, mobile source air toxics and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), enhance energy diversity, save consumers money, and promote economic growth,” said a memorandum by the eight-state coalition released to the media, “and … our states are committed to reducing air pollution, including the emission of GHGs and other air pollutants from the mobile source sector.”

The states will begin by harmonizing building codes to make it easier to construct electric car charging stations and they will consider various financial incentives to promote zero-emission vehicles. The group has also pledged to consider giving favorable electricity rates for home charging systems, to purchase zero-emissions vehicles for government fleets and develop common standards for roadway signs and charging networks.

Of the approximately 165,000 ZEV (which include battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell cars) on US roadways now, about 50,000 of them are located in California.

The governors acknowledge that by ramping up the number of clean cars on the road it will provide a major foothold for the country in its battle to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Plus, the rise of electric vehicles will save drivers cost of fuel over time, as electricity is the most widely available source of fuel and costs about two-thirds less than gasoline (on a per-mile basis). If those statistics hold, by 2025, the average driver of a zero-emissions vehicle could save nearly $6,000 in fueling costs over the life of their car.

“This is not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment,” said California Governor Jerry Brown. “From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.”

With various tax credits and registration fee reductions also available for ZEV drivers in the signatory states, the pact is a win-win for consumers, state governments and the environment.