Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

States Show Limited Progress With Electric Vehicle Policies

A new scorecard ranks state progress toward making EVs the norm. With transportation accounting for 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more needs to be done to meet Paris Accord emission targets.

shutterstock_5106731591
Electric vehicles plugged into charging stations. (Shutterstock)
Shutterstock
Electric cars account for less than one percent of the 282 million vehicles currently operating in the U.S., but a recent study estimates that 90 percent of light-duty vehicles in America might need to be electric by 2050 to meet emission targets from the Paris climate accord. The Transportation Electrification Scorecard just released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is the first attempt to rank state policies to promote electric transportation.
ACEEE evaluated state policies in six areas: EV and EV charging infrastructure planning and goal setting; incentives for EV deployment; transportation system efficiency; electricity grid optimization; EV equity and transportation electrification outcomes. States were scored on a 100-point scale and ranked in six tiers.

ev-soorecard-map.jpg
 

State rankings in the ACEEE’s State Transportation Electrification Scorecard. Twenty states were not ranked due to scores of 15, or less, out of a possible 100. (Map: ACEEE)




California ranked first, earning 91 points. New York came in second, with 63.5 points, but only five states and the District of Columbia scored more than half of the points available. Twenty states were not ranked because they had scored 15 or fewer points.

The scores and rankings reveal significant potential for improving state programs as climate and clean transportation gain renewed focus. They provide a benchmark for all states, according to lead author Bryan Howard, ACEEE’s state policy director, at a webinar launching the report.

“The scorecard is intended to help decision-makers and other stakeholders to identify and scale up promising policies related to EVs and EV charging infrastructure,” he says.

EV Policy Area Leaders


ev-policy-area-leaders.jpg
A handful of states have emerged as leaders in policy making that supports the development of EV infrastructure and increase the share of zero emission vehicles on the road. Chart: ACEEE

State Goals for Electrification

California, New York and Colorado are all recognized as leaders in goal setting. In September 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring that by 2035, 100 percent of new passenger cars and trucks sold in-state will be zero emission. The order also directs the state’s Air Resources Board to develop regulations aimed at 100 percent zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.

At the report launch, Commissioner Patty Monahan of the California Energy Commission noted that the state’s theory of change revolves around three “Cs” – cost, convenience and consumer awareness. State policies can help build up the market through incentives and support for vehicle purchases and charging infrastructure.

“What we're trying to do is signal to the private sector that they’re going to make money by electrifying transportation, and we're trying to jumpstart that with investments of public dollars,” she says.

New York has set a target of 850,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025, and is aiming for economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050. A benefit-cost analysis of EV deployment between 2017 and 2030 in the state determined that its net present value would range from $2.8 billion to $5.1 billion in aggregate.

Colorado’s Climate Roadmap, released in January 2012, sets emission reduction targets of 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050, as compared to 2005 levels. Accelerating the shift to electric cars, trucks and buses is highlighted as a key strategy in reaching these goals.



Mayor Rey Leon of Huron, Calif., in a public engagement campaign from Veloz, a California non-profit with utility, car maker and government partners.



States Have Weak EV Equity Policies

Zeryai Hagos, deputy director of the Office of Markets and Innovation at the New York State Department of Public Service, spoke about the state’s emphasis on ensuring equity in EV programs. New York requires 40 percent of its climate spending to be dedicated toward disadvantaged communities, he says.

ACEEE’s Howard notes that this is a particular weakness in current efforts. Only 23 states earned any points in this category, where scores reflect state and utility investments in EV programs for low-income, economically distressed or environmental justice communities, including electric school bus deployment.

Residents of these communities are disproportionally affected by vehicle emissions, but are not likely to be able to take advantage of incentives or tax credits for vehicle purchases if programs are not designed specifically for them. Every state can improve its equity policies, ACEEE concludes; only one, California, earned more than five of a possible 10 points.

Renewed Focus on Policy Approaches

The scorecard lays out a path forward for states that did not score enough points to be ranked. These include such things as benchmarking progress, coordinated strategies for vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment, collecting data on key metrics of progress, dedicated funding for at-risk communities, encouraging utility and third-party investment and leveraging federal or other funding sources.

“The policy landscape and emerging best practices will keep evolving as states continue to adopt and experiment with policy approaches to advance the use of EVs and EV charging infrastructure,” say the authors. As they do, the strategies outlined in the scorecard offer a clearly-defined platform on which to build.
Carl Smith is a senior staff writer for Governing and covers a broad range of issues affecting states and localities. He can be reached at carl.smith@governing.com or on Twitter at @governingwriter.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Sponsored
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
Sponsored
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Sponsored
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Sponsored
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
Sponsored
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Sponsored
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?