To encourage greater usage, should ZEV buy incentives be made part of the sales deal?

In the more than a-year-and-a-quarter’s time since I began blogging on air quality, cars have not been a hot-ticket item for me. In other words, in the big-picture perspective, I haven’t given autos their due like I have trains. So, today, for the auto I thought I would dedicate space.

‘Charge Ahead California’ campaign hits the road

On Nov. 18, 2013 Peter Lehner of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) posted on the Switchboard, his blog: “Electric Vehicles Approach Tipping Point.” Lehner observed: “When the latest generation of plug-in electric cars hit the mass market three years ago, they evoked the same mix of reactions as hybrids did: enthusiasm, curiosity, and some skepticism. However, they’re selling at more than twice the rate at which the first widely available hybrids left dealers’ lots.”

Now, as it has to do with the air and its improvement, I ask: Should incentives be part of the overall package when purchasing zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV), more so than when purchasing less environmentally benign vehicles, that is, to encourage greater usage of such? My answer is: Yes! I’ll explain.

It so happens, four days earlier, the NRDC put out its “Charge Ahead California Launches Campaign: Diverse coalition aims to put one million electric cars, trucks, and buses on California’s roads” press release.

Over what length of time, though?

The answer? Inside 10 years, lowering pollution levels, adding legions of new workers, helping keep in the state more money coming from transportation and, in turn, giving the economy a boost, this according to information presented in the release in question.

And as to the matter of incentivization, “The campaign will focus on directing current polluter fees on oil companies to fund existing, highly successful purchase incentive programs and to increase access to zero emission transportation in disadvantaged communities,” offered the NRDC.

Meanwhile, Lehner added: “California is part of an eight-state coalition, including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, which recently agreed to work together to get 3.3 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. And the recently signed Pacific Coast Climate Action plan, issued by the governors of California, Washington, and Oregon, and the premier of British Columbia, also calls for scaling up electric vehicle sales.”

In case there is any uncertainty at all as to why the push for increased electric vehicle operation, the reason isn’t difficult to understand at all: zero-emissions vehicles as the name suggests are the cleanest road-based power vehicles going.

“Cars, trucks, and buses are the single largest source of air pollution in California and are responsible for 34 percent of the state’s soot and smog-forming pollution,” the NRDC in the release contends. “A recent MIT study found that traffic pollution causes almost 6,000 premature mortalities annually in California, almost twice the number killed in traffic accidents. Four in ten Californians, more than in any other state, live close enough to a freeway or busy road that they may be at increased risk of asthma, cancer and other health hazards. Lower income households in communities of color tend to live closest to heavily trafficked areas and suffer disproportionately.”

On top of the emissions-reduction aspect, according to information in the release also, operating an electric car cost-wise, works out to about a dollar per gallon; what would be its equivalent in a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Seventy billion dollars is spent on diesel and gasoline in the Golden State yearly, less than 50 percent of which remains in state.

“Automakers are beginning to bring a diversity of advanced electric drive vehicles to the market, which don’t rely on gasoline and appeal to families across the income spectrum. Most automakers today are either selling or making zero-polluting cars for sale within the next few years,” added the NRDC.

Zero-emissions vehicles: Helping pave a cleaner-air traveled way ahead.

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