Access to electric vehicles addresses climate change and improves air quality

NEW REPORT: Electric vehicles save money for government fleets

Data shows taxpayer, air quality benefits of transitioning from gasoline, diesel-powered vehicles to EVs

June 28, 2023

Tammy Fiebelkorn, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)


[ALBUQUERQUE, NM] – State and local governments across the United States could save their taxpayers nearly $11 billion in lifetime expenses by purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) as opposed to gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles for their light-duty fleets. That’s according to Electric Vehicles Save Money for Government Fleets, a new report by U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Environment America Research & Policy Center, and Frontier Group.

For example, here in New Mexico, the state and local governments would save taxpayers $149 million if they collectively transitioned their light-duty fleets to electric when they retire older vehicles over the next decade.

Diane E. Brown, executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and a co-author
of the report stated, “Buying, fueling and maintaining gas- and diesel-fueled fleet vehicles is a big expense for governments — especially when gas prices are high. Shifting to electric vehicles can save money for taxpayers by significantly reducing fuel and maintenance costs, while also improving air quality.”

If state and local governments replace their nearly 900,000 light-duty fleet vehicles scheduled to retire over the next decade with EVs, the approximately $10.8 billion in savings will come mostly from fuel costs (68% reduction) and maintenance costs (37%). While this transition would require a significant upfront investment, federal incentives — such as the Commercial Clean Vehicle Credit, which offers savings of up to $7,500 per light-duty vehicle or $40,000 per heavy-duty vehicle for purchases of EVs by government or private fleets — can help pay for it.

“Electric vehicles are much more efficient than their gasoline counterparts, which means they save a lot of money,” said Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico Representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “With the incentives available through the Inflation Reduction Act, it’s a no-brainer for governments to replace every fleet vehicle with an EV going forward. Governor Lujan Grisham can help make sure there are enough EVs available in the state by adopting strong clean vehicle standards, including Advanced Clean Cars 2 and the Advanced Clean Truck Rule.”

“Electric vehicles are no longer some distant dream. They are here today and ready to save taxpayers money and help clear our air,” said Frontier Group’s Associate Director and Senior Policy Analyst Tony Dutzik, a co-author of the report. “Every year, new models and types of EVs come on the market that can do more of the jobs state and local governments require. The time for governments to plan a transition to electric vehicles is now.”

The report also documents how state and local fleet transitions to EVs will reduce air pollution and global warming emissions over the next decade. Greenhouse gas emissions could drop by nearly 26 million tons (of carbon dioxide equivalent), emitting 63% less than vehicles powered by gasoline.

“For more than a century, pollution from cars and trucks has made our air unhealthy to breathe. It’s long past time to change that and local and state governments can lead by example in electrifying our vehicles,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center and a co-author of the report.


The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.