The two most populous states in the country, California and New York, are part of an eight-state initiative that aims to have 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles running on their roads by 2025.
The multistate alliance, which also includes Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, announced Thursday that it plans to step up each state's effort to reduce greenhouse gases, a significant portion of which is emitted by transportation, by buying electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell cars for government fleets, building charging stations for cars that run on electricity and hydrogen, and provide consumer incentives to buy these cars. These incentives may include rebates, prime spots in public parking lots, and permission to drive from one state to another on the carpool lane. Roughly one-fourth of the entire auto market belong to these eight states.
"Today, we're putting a foot on the pedal to get more clean cars on the road. This is real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," says California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Dubbed the Multistate ZEV Action Plan, the project builds upon an agreement signed by the eight states in October which aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by introducing zero-emission cars into the mainstream auto industry in the next several years. The agreement also aims to unify state policies on zero-emission vehicles across all eight states, which already have their own separate programs to encourage car owners to make the switch from gas-powered vehicles.
Most people, however, are not quick to chuck their conventional cars to electric cars or hybrids because of the high costs and the lack of models to choose from. Currently, auto manufacturers have released only around two dozen models of electric cars, hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles, with 200,000 units roaming the streets nationwide. Still, sales of these environment-friendly cars have more than doubled in 2013, with more than half of the sales happening in the eight states.
In California, the state awards rebates to electric car owners and requires car manufacturers to sell zero-emission models in the state or buy credits from companies who do. Around one-third of the 96,000 sales of electric cars and hybrids made last year took place in California.
"Here in New York, we will be supporting the effort through the Charge NY initiative by installing 3,000 electric vehicle charging stations -- vital to the growth of a completely wired Northeast Corridor -- and I am hopeful that more states will join this collaborative effort and help pave the way for the clean transportation options of the future," says New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.