Jan. 18, 2019
Trump’s Lack of Support Slows the Inevitable Electric Vehicle Revolution
Clean Vehicle Companies, Air-Breathing Americans Would Greatly Benefit From Expansion of Existing Grants, Incentives
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vehicle manufacturers and consumers are shifting toward no-emission buses, trucks and cars, and just an extra push from the White House would greatly benefit this sector, according to a report released today by Public Citizen.
However, even the smallest push from the Trump administration is unlikely.
The electric vehicle (EV) market is expanding, with purchases of EVs reaching 1.1 million in 2017. EV sales in 2018 are expected to reach 1.6 million. The 2018 Bloomberg New Energy Finance report predicts a surge in electric bus sales worldwide over the next 12 years; in 2030, EV buses will make up 84 percent of all buses sold globally.
But the Trump administration has boosted fossil fuels – through loosening coal and oil regulations and lending financial support – while giving short shrift to renewable energy.
For the average city and company, the upfront cost of heavy-duty electric vehicles can be steep. Several grants and incentive programs can help transit agencies, governments and businesses purchase electric vehicles. The Federal Transit Authority provides funding for electric buses – which totaled $84 million in 2018 – through its Low-No program, which supports low- or no-emission transportation projects. Such grants could and should be expanded.
Despite the higher upfront investment required, heavy-duty electric vehicles save money over the life cycle of the vehicle from lower fuel costs and maintenance. Furthermore, heavy-duty electric vehicles can prevent asthma and even premature deaths because they emit nothing.
The federal government can take steps now to support American transportation electrification. First, because no universal charging standard exists for plug-in vehicles, the federal government could create one through regulation. Additionally, the federal government can allocate funding for new charging infrastructure, especially along highways for long-distance drives, to support the expansion of heavy-duty EVs. It is time for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to propose charging stations.
Today in Houston, Public Citizen is attending the kickoff breakfast for the City of Houston Electric Transportation Coalition, a new organization formed to drive accelerated development of a thriving Electric Transportation (ET) ecosystem in Houston. Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office looks forward to joining the coalition. “Houston is a car city,” said Shelley, “and old, polluting vehicles contribute to Houston’s serious air pollution problem. Electrifying transportation in Houston will reduce air pollution and protect the health of Houstonians. We hope that Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City will use this new Electric Transportation Coalition to invest in clean transportation for all Houstonians.”
Read the full report.