For many years, South Carolina has actively promoted clean transportation and alternative fuels throughout the state. One leader in this effort is the Office of Regulatory Staff – Energy Office (Energy Office) and its Palmetto Clean Fuels (PCF) initiative, part of the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program. PCF helps lower fuel costs, improve air quality, diversify fuel resources by reducing vehicle miles traveled, promote idle reduction and fuel economy measures, and encourage bicycle and pedestrian efforts. PCF also works to increase adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) among state agency fleets, promote EV education, and act as an EV informational and educational resource for stakeholders statewide and nationally.
In 2016, portions of four highways in South Carolina were designated as “corridor ready.” This designation signifies that enough infrastructure already existed along the designated segments of interstate for EV charging and refueling with hydrogen, propane, and natural gas. Since then, the Energy Office and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism have partnered to place EV charging stations at three state parks. They recently held a stakeholder meeting to explore the possibilities of installing EV charging stations at key rest areas along interstates, and the Energy Office and PCF are planning to facilitate a statewide stakeholder meeting in 2019 to determine the optimal suite of programs and initiatives that would further encourage the adoption of EVs.
In South Carolina, a key recommendation in our State Energy Plan is to “lead by example in state transportation,” an attainable goal that supports our mission to build a reliable, resilient, and clean energy system for South Carolina. It is a goal worthy of consideration by all states, as they consider policy approaches for driving the transportation sector towards clean fuels.