August 28, 2014

New California Law Puts State on Road to a Million Zero-Emission Vehicles

SACRAMENTO (Aug. 28, 2014) — The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) commends the California Legislature for approving the Charge Ahead Initiative, which aims to bring one million electric cars, trucks and buses to California by 2023.

The bill will help clean our air, improve public health and save consumers money by extending the benefits of clean transportation, particularly to low-income communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution.

Exhaust from millions of gasoline and diesel-powered cars, buses, and trucks pollute our air and cost California billions in avoidable health costs. Four in 10 Californians live close enough to a freeway or busy road that they are at increased risk of asthma and other health hazards.

California’s policy leadership has helped to make the state the nation’s largest market for electric vehicles, accounting for more than one-third of all U.S. electric vehicle sales. The bill approved today is designed to expand that market by encouraging car-sharing programs, providing purchase rebates, and installing charging infrastructure needed to make electric vehicles more readily available.

Below is a statement by David Reichmuth, Senior Engineer in the UCS Clean Vehicles Program:

“The Charge Ahead California Initiative will spread the economic and health benefits of electric transportation to more Californians, including those in the state’s most polluted and disadvantaged communities.

“Cars, buses, and trucks powered by petroleum products pollute our air and are also the single largest source of global warming pollution in California. By accelerating the deployment of zero emission vehicles, this initiative will enable the state to achieve California’s healthy air standards and carbon reduction targets.

“The legislation will also boost California’s economy because the use of electricity as a transportation fuel will help keep money in the state, stimulating the economy and insulating family budgets from gas price spikes, which hit lower income households especially hard.

“By embracing clean transportation initiatives, California continues to lead the nation down the road to a future of reduced fossil fuel consumption and more choices for consumers.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.