Rhode Island Bill Creates Roadmap to Advance Future of Electric Transportation
PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 8, 2022 -- Rhode Island legislators Sen. Alana DiMario and Rep. Terri Cortvriend introduced legislation to fast-track Rhode Island's adoption of electric vehicles to meet the state's 2030 greenhouse gas reduction mandate. H7653 and S2448 create a process to plan for charging infrastructure and other changes to make it possible for all new car buyers in Rhode Island to choose an electric vehicle by 2030. Following Rhode Island's withdrawal from the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative, the bill represents a new approach to tackling pollution from transportation, the Ocean State's largest source of emissions.
The bill, known as the Electric Transportation Act, is similar to a bill passed by the Washington State legislature in 2021 and reflects a conviction that Rhode Island will need to act decisively to limit emissions from cars, trucks, and buses. The bill was drafted by Sen. DiMario and Rep. Cortvriend with assistance from Green Energy Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit working to harness the power of energy consumers to speed the transition to a low-carbon future and Coltura, a nonprofit working to improve climate, health, and equity by accelerating the transition from gasoline and diesel to cleaner alternatives.
Gasoline and diesel emissions are the single biggest source of climate-altering pollution in Rhode Island, at nearly 36% percent of total emissions. A complete transition to electric vehicles will save Rhode Island $178 million in annual healthcare costs.
"Exposure to air pollution is responsible for number of health problems including asthma and other respiratory harm, reducing this exposure will result in better health for all Rhode Islanders – especially those living near our busiest roads and highways. In addition, transitioning to electric vehicles will make Rhode Islanders less vulnerable to rising fuel prices, said Rep Cortvriend.
EVs with more than 400 miles of range are already available, and dozens of new models of electric cars, trucks, and SUVs are coming to market. By 2026, EVs are forecast to reach price parity with comparable gasoline models. Technology allowing EVs to charge nearly as fast as it takes to fill a tank with gas will also be widely available by 2030. Research commissioned by Coltura and conducted by Yale University, George Mason University, and Climate Nexus found a majority of voters nationally support a phaseout of gas-cars starting in 2030.
"Drivers across the world are happy with the fuel savings, low maintenance, and zero emissions that EVs offer," said Mal Skowron of Green Energy Consumers Alliance. " It's time to make the benefits of electric transportation accessible to everyone."
The Electric Transportation Act will:
- Put Rhode Island on the road to powering its vehicles with electricity that is cleaner and cheaper than gasoline.
- Clarify for local governments, automakers, charging companies, utilities, investors, landlords, and workplaces the direction of the state's EV market.
- Align Rhode Island's vehicle regulations with California, the largest car market in the US and the leader in EV adoption.
- Increase opportunities for lower-income Rhode Islanders to acquire used EVs and enjoy significant savings over costs of owning a fossil fuel vehicle.
- Commit to a reduction of vehicle-miles-traveled that aligns with the state's transit and bicycle plans.
- Reduce the cost and uncertainty of dependence on foreign sources of oil.
"As elected officials it is our duty to keep the health and safety of our communities front and center in the decisions we make. Leading the region in setting ambitious targets for reducing emissions with a focus on equity via the Electric Transportation Act does exactly that," said Sen. DiMario.
SOURCE Green Energy Consumers Alliance