NATSO and five trade associations representing the fuel supply chain urged the Governors of eight states to prioritize the full range of automotive technologies and fuels available to consumers before allocating additional resources to so-called Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), which have yet to reach a critical mass despite consumer subsidies and incentives.
In a letter to the Governors of Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, the trade groups said that consumers have yet to purchase significant numbers of ZEVs and that investments in cleaner fuels for combustion engine vehicles have enabled lower vehicle emissions and resulted in substantial air quality benefits. As a result, allowing citizens to choose their mode of transportation, including newer vehicles that run on today’s clean fuels, offers a beneficial approach to achieving state energy and environmental goals.
Although many states use the term Zero Emissions Vehicles, NATSO refuses to grant the premise that such automobiles are in fact zero emissions. NATSO and the fuel groups that signed the letter maintain that the "zero-emission" classification of electric vehicles fails to acknowledge the energy required to build the vehicle and battery systems, the energy source used to generate the electricity required to charge the vehicle and the environmental cost of batter disposal.
In addition to NATSO, the letter was signed by the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.
Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont earlier this month signed a multi-state ZEV action plan designed to accelerate the use of ZEVs and meet greenhouse gas-reduction goals. The ZEV Action Plan includes 80 recommendations for states, automakers, dealers, utilities and charging companies to increase the adoption of ZEV purchases such as plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, as well as infrastructure incentives and consumer outreach.
The Auto Alliance also urged the above listed states to increase their already generous incentives and subisides in an effort to spur the purchase and recharging of ZEVs.
NATSO and the fuel groups cautioned against further allocating resources to "a technology that is consistently rejected in the marketplace by the vast majority of your constituents."
For example, in California, which adopted the California Low Emitting Vehicle rule in the 1990s that required 10 percent electric vehicles by 2003, ZEVs account for just 1.2 percent of the cars on the road in the state. These figures remain far below initial adoption targets despite that the state modified the program requirements several times and spent $449 million on vehicle rebates. Massachusetts, Maryland and New York have achieved ZEV sales of 1.3 percent, 1 percent and 1 percent, respectively. In contrast, consumers purchased nearly 17 million conventional vehicles with an internal combustion engine.
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