Transportation accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions in the United States than any other sector and, within that, light-duty vehicles account for 59% of all transportation emissions. In order to reduce the effects of climate change, we must encourage more Americans to switch to plug-in vehicles. On average, the climate pollution created from driving an electric vehicle (EV) is equivalent to driving a gasoline vehicle that gets 88 miles per gallon. That figure continues to improve as our electric utilities increasingly switch to renewable energy. Electric vehicles also offer other benefits, including utilizing domestic energy, lower fuel and maintenance costs, and, for many, the convenience of plugging in at home.
The United States has been a leader in developing EV technology, but we are increasingly falling behind the rest of the world in EV adoption. In 2019, EV sales accounted for just 2% of U.S. new car sales, while they were 2.5% of all global new car sales. We are lagging behind countries like China, Germany, the UK, and France in terms of sales, supportive policies, and automaker investment. At a time when we should be encouraging EV adoption, many states are imposing new EV fees, and we still lack the necessary charging infrastructure that is needed for mass adoption.
Washington State recently became the twelfth state to pass a zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) program, which began in California. This policy, which requires automakers to sell ZEVs or buy credits from automakers that do, has been the single biggest driver of increased adoption in those states. We strongly encourage more states to adopt the full Advanced Clean Cars Program.
At the same time, the federal government must adopt strong, supportive electric vehicle policy and extend the federal EV tax credit, which has now expired for consumers purchasing Tesla and GM vehicles. The lack of a tax credit for purchases from automakers that have led the way in electrification has hampered their sales and reduced the number of clean vehicles on America’s roads. We believe that the cap on tax credits should be raised from 200,000 vehicles per automaker to 600,000—at a minimum.
While the federal government provides incentives to carbon-intensive industries, it should also provide benefits to Americans who are taking steps to improve our air quality.