Utah’s Public Service Commission is meeting at the Capitol this week to discuss options for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front through the use of alternative-energy vehicles.
Earlier this year, the state Legislature tasked the Public Service Commission to investigate how alternative-energy vehicles can improve air quality along the Wasatch Front. Kevin Emerson of Utah Clean Energy was at the first of this week’s hearings. He says electric vehicles are the best way to reduce emissions.
“Electric vehicles eliminate 99% of the smog-producing volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. They also reduce carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emissions,” Emerson says.
Electric cars have virtually no tailpipe emissions, and since much of the bad air in in Utah’s urban areas comes from these emissions, Emerson says they’re one of the best ways to clean up the air. He also point out that use of electricity will reduce reliance on gasoline, which will, in turn, cut emissions from oil refineries. He says state policymakers should promote the use of electric vehicles since they do less harm than gas-powered vehicles. He thinks electric vehicle owners should get a higher tax incentive.
“Right now the natural gas vehicle incentive is $2,500 dollars, and the electric vehicle incentive is $605. And so we think, because of the significant potential for air quality, that they should both be at the same level,” Emerson says.
He also says the state should make it easier for cities and businesses to install charging stations and re-sell that electricity.