Big boost in EV ‘adoption’ could improve air quality, spark economic/jobs growth, in California, group insists

Dedicated high-speed rail dollars kept in the Valley will simply go farther,” the Air Quality Matters blog post of Jun. 14th, showed how $4.2 billion in state rail bonds, in being applied to construction work in California’s San Joaquin Valley, could be a tremendous asset where hiring, stimulating local economies and improving area and state air quality – as well as in bringing additional benefits (as pointed out below) – are concerned.

Once high-speed electric trains are in revenue service even further gains will be realized.

While there may be those who vehemently disagree, signature hallmarks such as the above are characteristic of high-speed rail construction and operation, generally.

It should be noted, high-speed trains in the Valley are not expected to enter revenue service until at least 2028. And, that’s if all the stars align and all connected to it to allow that to happen, falls into place. A big “IF”.

Twenty-twenty-eight is still eight years away. Action today to help reduce negative air impacts in not just the Valley but in other parts of the state, include “adoption” of electric light-duty vehicles and trucks.

While any movement on the ZEV (zero-emissions vehicle) front is helpful, in order to make real and lasting inroads, that “adoption” must be widespread.

As it stands, as many as 30 different ZEV models are available for purchase or lease in state.

But, just as choice is an important consideration in terms of widespread acceptance of these ZEVs, so too are factors such as battery life, driving range per charge/refuel and charging/refueling infrastructure availability and access.

Hydrogen car and fuel-filling infrastructure

Although those issues tend to weigh heavy on potential users’ minds when it comes to considering what kind of vehicle to own or lease, there are obviously many reasons why going this route just makes sense as in there being fewer moving parts compared to an equivalent internal-combustion-engine-powered (gasoline- or diesel-driven) cousin, which translates into greater value where maintenance is concerned (there is less to go wrong), longer vehicle life as well as reduced operating costs through lower-priced fuel costs – in this case, the fuels being electricity and hydrogen.

But, it is in regards to the bigger-picture assets that ZEVs really leave the competition in the dust, so to speak.

“Electrification of light-duty vehicles in California could be a potent catalyst for economic growth over the next 10 years. That’s according to a new study of the impact on the California economy if the state achieves electric vehicle (EV) adoption that is consistent with its climate goals,” as information in a recent Next 10 press release brings to light.

The report is titled: Clean Transportation: An Economic Assessment of More Inclusive Vehicle Electrification in California, a Berkeley Economic Advising and Research (BEAR)-produced document.

“‘This data shows that an increase in electric vehicles could pay dividends to Californians across the board—increasing real income and gross state product by the billions of dollars by 2030,’ said F. Noel Perry, the founder of think tank Next 10 which commissioned the report. ‘Transitioning to electric vehicles is not just an investment in mitigating climate risk. It’s an investment in the economy.’”

To this, it is added, “‘Consumer spending is the number one driver of the state economy. When people stop spending money at the pump, they will invest most of those dollars that otherwise would have gone to out-of-state oil companies on in-state goods and services – creating jobs,’ said David Roland-Holst, BEAR Managing Director and Economics professor at UC Berkeley, and lead author of the report.’”

The biggest beneficiaries here appear to be disadvantaged communities.

“Across all of the scenarios modeled in the study, disadvantaged communities saw the greatest relative benefits – with higher potential job growth and larger per capita economic gains compared to the rest of the state’s population. But when adoption is concentrated in lower-income communities, the gains are even larger, and higher income groups experience the same benefits across scenarios.’

“‘It shouldn’t be surprising that populations most impacted by pollution are also lower-income,’ noted Perry. ‘EV adoption in these communities can help improve health, reduce costs, and create real economic benefits. Regardless of whether or not you own an EV, you stand to benefit from more clean vehicles on the road,’ the citation as published in the release in question.

The beauty of all this is that all of it has implications for the rest of the U.S.

For much more on this matter, see Next 10’s “Electric vehicle adoption in California could increase GSP by more than $140 billion, create half a million jobs in just 10 years: Report finds avoided fuel costs will boost the state economy, with disadvantaged communities seeing the biggest relative gains,” Jan. 28, 2020 press release here.

Image above: Wikimedia Commons

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