Updated Thu, Jun 26, 2014 5:09 pm
With a growing number of electric vehicles on the road, America is on its way to eliminating a huge amount of climate-changing pollution. That’s according to a report released by Environment Ohio, which says adding more electric vehicles to the road would be equivalent to taking 78,000 carbon emitting trucks and cars off the road by 2025.
The group’s Nate Lotze said Ohio could follow the lead of other states which have implemented policies to encourage electric vehicle use.
“Georgia for example offers up to a $5,000 tax credit," Lotze said. "Washington State offers sales tax exemptions. And the bill sponsored by Representative O’Brien would also offer financial incentives to own and drive these cars.”
Democratic Representative Sean O’Brien of Hubbard said his bill will—in the end—make these electric vehicles and cars that run on compressed natural gas more affordable to more Ohioans.
“I mean that’s one of the biggest drawbacks—especially with compressed natural gas is the price of the vehicle and the conversion kit," O'Brien said. "What we’re trying to do here is get that cost down.”
O’Brien’s bill passed the Republican-dominated House unanimously. While policymakers are trying to encourage the purchase of electric, CNG and other fuel-efficient cars the U.S. Department of Transportation is working on a different problem.
Federal officials say the Highway Trust Fund is being drained rapidly. This is revenue directed back to the states for road construction – and it comes from the gas tax. If more and more people own these alternative vehicles, then less people would pay less gas taxes, which would mean even less money for the Highway Trust Fund. O’Brien says his bill includes a tax on CNG vehicles.
“We feel that if a vehicle’s on the road it should pay for the infrastructure as well as everyone else,” O'Brien said.
When it comes to electric vehicles, Cynthia Maves with Clean Fuels Ohio said other states have come up with new fees that would make up the difference of lost revenue.
“Virginia has put in place a certain amount of dollars—I think it’s $100 that they’re taxing the electric vehicles," Maves said. "Oregon is right now developing a pilot project where they’re using vehicle miles traveled to charge the non-petroleum fueled cars accordingly.”
In the report—Environment Ohio included a call for the state to implement a Zero Emission Vehicle program which requires automakers to sell more electric cars.