NV State Policies Needed to Promote Electric Vehicles

September 9, 2014


CARSON CITY, Nev. (Sept. 9, 2014) – Several proposed new state policies would open up the Nevada market for electric vehicles, according to a new report issued by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). Without them, the state will keep its foot on the brake instead of revving up sales of the cars despite its selection as the home state for the new Tesla electric vehicle battery factory.

“Nevada does not yet have the policy infrastructure to support mass deployment of electric vehicles,” said Mike Salisbury, author of the report, Economic and Air Quality Benefits of Electric Vehicles in Nevada, which includes state policy recommendations. “Several state policies that have proven themselves in other states are needed in Nevada.”

The report notes that electric vehicles are beneficial because they shift fuel consumption away from imported gasoline, provide economic and air quality benefits to the state, and help create new jobs.

The report calls for State EV policies that:

  • Provide rebates for the purchase or lease of an EV 
    The additional incremental cost of electric vehicles is one of the greatest barriers to wider adoption. An upfront rebate off the price of an electric vehicle in Nevada would spur EV sales and put the cars within financial reach for a larger population. Several states currently offer rebates for EVs of between $2,000 and $4,000. When combined with federal tax credits for EVs, a rebate brings the initial cost of the cars close to conventional vehicles.
  • Deregulate utility electricity sales so that EV charging stations can sell electricity as fuel 
    Current Nevada regulations essentially prohibit a business or local government from installing public EV charging stations and charging for a fill-up. Only entities regulated as utilities are able to sell electricity to the public. Currently, 10 states have changed their laws to allow station owners to resell electricity as EV fuel. Deregulation would remove a barrier to the opening of new charging stations and support the growth of a Nevada fueling infrastructure for EVs.
  • Update Nevada codes to allow businesses and local governments to finance fleet purchases of EVs from fuel savings 
    The report recommends that a financing mechanism already codified in Nevada be expanded to include the purchase of EVs for vehicle fleets. Called Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), the financing mechanism is used to pay upfront for large-scale energy efficiency improvements in Nevada universities, hospitals and public buildings, with the loan repaid through utility bill savings from using less energy. The report recommends that EPC be expanded to include the purchase of EVs for vehicle fleets, since they share the same issue – a higher capital cost, offset over time by savings in fuel and maintenance costs.
  • Charge an EV registration fee to support road maintenance and charging stations 
    There’s no provision in Nevada to tax electricity that is sold as fuel, and fuel taxes are the primary mechanism for funding the state’s Transportation Fund for road maintenance. Also, the lack of public charging stations discourages consumers from purchasing EVs. The report recommends that Nevada address these two issues by imposing an additional registration fee on EVs that initially would fund the installation of EV charging stations and—as the number of cars increases— transitions to cover road maintenance.

All of the proposed policies are at work in other Southwest states and are detailed in a report, Policies to Promote Electric Vehicles in the Southwest: A State Government Report Card, also by SWEEP.

EVs are An Important Strategy for Improving Nevada Air Quality
“Supporting widespread adoption of electric vehicles is an important strategy for improving air quality in Clark and Washoe Counties, Nevada’s most populated areas which face air quality challenges,” said Salisbury.

Even with stricter EPA tailpipe emissions regulations for gasoline-powered cars, EVs still compare favorably for reduced air pollution, the report said. EVs in Las Vegas emit 58% less carbon emissions and five times fewer smog forming pollutants. In Reno, they produce 42% less carbon emissions and eight times less smog forming pollutants.

EVs Shift Consumer Spending Away from Imported Fuel
Nevada does not produce any oil and spends about $5 billion annually to import vehicle fuel from outside the state. By shifting consumer spending away from imported fuel and toward locally-produced electricity, new Nevada policies would keep consumer fuel dollars at home.

EVs Cut the Cost of Fuel by 84%, Boost Local Economies
EVs save consumers more than $1,000 per year on vehicle fuel (electricity is six times less expensive than gasoline for comparable mileage), according to the analysis. Some of those household savings will be spent on local goods and services that create in-state jobs.

The report quantifies that that total annual economic benefit to the State of Nevada in reduced fuel costs could reach $138 million per year by 2030.


The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project is a public interest organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.swenergy.org.


Mike Salisbury, Transportation Associate, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project: (720) 628-5596; msalisbury@swenergy.org