‘Roadmap’ puts DEP squarely behind greater use of electric vehicles | TribLIVE.com
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Stephen Huba

It may not be the Green New Deal, but a new report by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection tries to nudge the state toward greater use of electric vehicles.

The Pennsylvania Electric Vehicle Roadmap, developed over two years by the Drive Electric Pennsylvania Coalition, attempts to lay out strategies for overcoming barriers to electric vehicle use by motorists and municipalities.

“Interest in electric vehicles is increasing, but until now there’s been no statewide plan to foster a cohesive approach,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We developed research-based strategies for government and private planning and policy decisions to help increase the opportunities and benefits of electric vehicles across the state.”

The report, which is being promoted by Gov. Tom Wolf as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, laments the fact that there are only 15,000 electric vehicles in the state and pushes incentives for wider adoption of electric vehicles. In the past two years, Pennsylvania residents have received more than $3.3 million in DEP rebates for 2,135 electric vehicles.

The plan projects that if three in 10 cars and light-duty trucks were electric by 2033, Pennsylvania could realize almost $2.8 billion in benefits — including lower greenhouse gases, reduced respiratory diseases and increased savings due to fuel efficiency.

The downsides include significant up-front expenses, limited availability of charging stations and uncertainty about mileage range, the report notes.

The report identifies seven goals for the next two years:

  • Develop policy or legislation to encourage utilities to invest in transportation electrification and improve the electric market for ratepayers.
  • Establish statewide electric sales goals.
  • Expand DEP’s Alternative Fuel Investment Grants program for municipalities, businesses and organizations.
  • Increase investment in charging stations and public awareness of them.
  • Create an education program and a cooperative program to support fleet purchases.
  • Develop a consumer education campaign.
  • Develop an outreach program to raise awareness of electric vehicles among car dealerships.

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