Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today detailed efforts to increase electric vehicle use in Vermont as part of the state’s emissions reduction goals.
“Electrifying the transportation sector will help clean the air and keep millions of dollars within our economy,” said Governor Scott. “While more work needs to be done, Vermont has taken strong steps toward a renewable transportation sector. Accelerating vehicle electrification will continue to be a priority of my Administration.”
The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont, accounting for about 45% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan establishes a goal of increasing the share of renewable energy in the transportation sector to 10% by 2025 and 80% by 2050. This translates to approximately 50,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) registered in Vermont by 2025. Currently, there are about 3,100 PEVs registered in Vermont.
Governor Scott has emphasized the importance of incentives to help Vermonters transition to EVs and move toward these goals. His Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposed investing in EV incentives and, working with the Legislature, secured $1.1 million to help low- and moderate-income Vermonters purchase or lease all-electric vehicles. The incentive program is limited to households at or below 160% of the median household income (about $92,000), and to EVs with a base MSRP of $40,000 or less.
This year’s Transportation Bill addresses several other aspects of vehicle electrification. It includes requirements for public charging equipment such as removing Public Utility Commission (PUC) and Public Service Department jurisdiction over charging infrastructure to facilitate the growth of commercial charging stations, promoting consumer transparency by allowing charging stations to charge by the kilowatt hour, and tasking the PUC with exploring best practices and approaches to keep the Transportation Fund whole as electric vehicles continue to gain in market share.
“As the biggest per capita contributor to climate change, the U.S. should be leading the way to rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, our federal government is doing the opposite. We cannot depend on or wait for Washington to act. It is going to take the states to lead this effort,” said House Transportation Committee Chair Curt McCormack. “Governor Scott has provided such leadership, most recently with his electric car incentive and charging station initiatives. It was great working with the Governor and his Administration to put these and other transportation related greenhouse gas reduction programs into the law.”
The Scott Administration also worked with the Legislature to accelerate transition to EVs within the state’s vehicle fleet, setting a standard to ensure at least 50% of vehicles purchased or leased by the Department of Buildings and General Services will be hybrid or PEVs.
Additionally, the state continues to invest its share of the nationwide settlement with Volkswagen due to its violation of the Clean Air Act. So far, Vermont has granted more than $1 million for 30 charging stations across the state, including Level 2 (four-hour charge time) and Level 3 fast charging (20-minute charge time) stations. Vermont will dedicate additional Volkswagen settlement funds to ensure that nearly every Vermonter will live within 30 miles of a Fast Charging Station. The 30 new charging stations - which will come online over the next year - will join the existing 26 Level 3 fast charging sites and 191 Level 2 charging sites across the state.