(Phoenix, AZ) – Western Resource Advocates, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Arizona PIRG Education Fund, and Wildfire Arizona welcomed the Arizona Corporation Commission’s (ACC) approval today of a plan that fosters electric vehicle use, charging infrastructure development, and innovative rate designs for electric vehicle (EV) charging.
The ACC measure encourages electric utilities to develop pilot programs for EVs, to invest in charging infrastructure, particularly in rural and low-income areas, and to develop innovative rate designs to maximize benefits to all electricity customers. The ACC’s plan also calls for the utilities to file a joint, long-term, comprehensive transportation electrification plan for Arizona by the end of this year.
Arizonans have much to gain from greater electric vehicle use, including lower utility rates, lower vehicle maintenance costs, and improved public health. Phoenix and the rest of Maricopa County have some of the worst air quality in the nation in terms of ozone and short-term particle pollution, receiving an “F” grade in the most recent annual report card from the American Lung Association this spring.
One of the biggest contributors to that pollution is vehicles powered by fossil fuels. A report last December by M.J. Bradley and Associates found that Arizonans could see a see a cumulative net economic benefit of $31 billion by 2050 from greater electric vehicle use, including improved air quality and public health, reduced electric bills, and decreased vehicle operating costs.
The U.S. transportation sector also is now the largest contributor of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Scientists project that temperatures in Phoenix will continue to rise if we do nothing to address climate change. Steps like the ACC’s plan for encouraging use of electric vehicles will help reduce these harmful emissions.
“Arizona will see many benefits through increased use of electric vehicles,” said Adam Stafford, Western Resource Advocates’ staff attorney in Phoenix. “Today, vehicle emissions contribute to climate change more than any other sector of our economy. By decreasing the number of vehicles powered by fossil fuels, we can help reduce the damage we see from climate change, including increased temperatures, prolonged droughts, more intense wildfires, and more severe ozone pollution. This is in addition to the immediate benefits to air quality and public health. Encouraging electric vehicle use is an important step toward building a better, healthier future for ourselves and our children.”
“SWEEP is thrilled that the Arizona Corporation Commission approved the next phase of electric vehicle implementation,” said Ellen Zuckerman, Arizona Representative with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “This decision clearly sends a signal that Arizona is ready to get serious about transportation electrification and ensure the future of transport works for all Arizonans.”
"Arizona's Electric Vehicle Policy Implementation Plan enables the expansion of infrastructure to help meet the increased demand of EVs on our roads," stated Diane E. Brown, executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. "More EV's in our state will result in ratepayer, air quality, and public health benefits."
“Wildfire recognizes and appreciates the important role the utility sector plays in helping ensure that low-income consumers – particularly those living in low-income and multi-family family properties and in rural communities – have access to electric vehicle charging technology,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director of Wildfire, formerly the Arizona Community Action Association. “It is vital that the needs of low-income consumers be considered and prioritized in any EV policy, program, and investments that are approved, authorized, and implemented.”
About the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project is a public interest organization advancing more efficient energy use and clean transportation options in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.swenergy.org
About Western Resource Advocates
Western Resource Advocates works to protect the West’s land, air, and water so that our communities thrive in balance with nature. WRA’s team of scientists, lawyers, and economists craft and implement innovative solutions to the most complex natural resource challenges in the region. For more information, visit www.westernresourceadvocates.org and follow us on Twitter @wradv and #ProtectTheWest.
About the Arizona PIRG Education Fund
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund works to protect consumers and promote good government through investigating problems, crafting solutions, educating the public, and offering citizens meaningful opportunities for civic participation. For more information, visit www.arizonapirgedfund.org
Wildfire is a growing movement to end poverty. We advocate for fair practices. We collaborate on policy issues. We support community action initiatives. Beyond easing the effects of poverty, our efforts aim to ignite lasting change: to stop poverty before it starts. This is advocacy in action for an Arizona where all may thrive. For more information, visit: www.wildfireaz.org