On Tuesday night, Anchorage residents gathered to celebrate National Drive Electric Week and learn more about the national and local market for electric vehicles. National Drive Electric Week is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more.
Over 1 million plug-in vehicles are on the road in the US and that number is expected to accelerate as the market grows. Alaska is no exception with 500 plug-in vehicles on the roads across the state. This rising demand for electric vehicles is catalyzed for a variety of reasons. For starters, electricity for vehicles is much cheaper than gasoline. Driving on electricity is on average 5 times cheaper than driving a conventional vehicle on gasoline.
Shaina Kilcoyne with the Municipality of Anchorage says that as part of The Anchorage Climate Action Plan, they are preparing for continued growth in electric vehicles. “We are working with the utilities and stakeholders on the road system to plan out charging infrastructure so drivers can use EVs just like they do gasoline-fueled cars.”
In addition to saving money on fuel, electric vehicles reduce carbon pollution and protect air quality. Each year in the US we burn roughly 121 billion gallons of oil in our cars and trucks. The transportation sector in the United States is responsible for nearly a third of our nation’s carbon pollution. All-electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions and therefore emit significantly less CO2 than conventional vehicles.
Senator Murkowski prepared a video from Washington, D.C. said “How good it is to move off costly diesel to clean, renewable, hydro-powered electricity,” She says “Juneau ranks with Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon when it comes to available charging stations per capita. If you build the charging stations, they will come.”
An increase in electric vehicles in Alaska will require new infrastructure to be built, and furthermore increase energy needs for the state. Organizers of the presentation hope we could power our EVs with renewable resources like wind and solar. They believe it is an opportunity to create good jobs for Alaskans in the clean energy sector.
This fall, Congress will be discussing the extension of numerous tax credit programs and this could include expanding the existing $2,500 to $7,500 tax credit for EV purchasers. Kristen Collins with The Alaska Center says “the extension of this tax credit is critical for the continued growth of EV sales in Alaska. EVs have a bright future in Alaska, and this wave is just starting to build. Congress has passed trillions of dollars in tax incentives that benefit the petroleum industry. This industry is now lobbying against tax credits for EVs. Our Congressional delegation needs to stand up for the EV industry, and not be swayed by the demands of the oil and gas lobby.”
Are electric vehicles the next step forward for a viable renewable economy in Alaska? The answer seems to be a resounding, yes.
Source: Alaska Center