SALT LAKE CITY – Utah lawmakers are scoring good grades with an energy conservation group for enacting laws and policies that benefit electric vehicle use.
Will Toor, transportation program director at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, says his organization recently gave Utah a B-plus grade for its policies on electric vehicles resulting from this year’s Legislative Session.
“We also looked at the fact that based upon vehicle sales in 2013, when you look at the percentage of new vehicles being purchased that are electric vehicles, Utah, even prior to this latest round of policies, was already in the top 10 markets in the United States,” he says.
Toor explains Utah’s B-plus grade is linked to the new tax credit toward the purchase of an electric vehicle, the law requiring the state to convert half of its vehicle fleet to cleaner fuel engines by 2018 and state grant funding available to retrofit or replace vehicles to meet clean air standards.
Rep. Patrice Arent, who co-chairs the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus, says during this year’s Legislative Session, lawmakers approved $4.7 million in funding for a dozen measures aimed at improving air quality.
Toor says that Utah seems to be a politically conservative state with more progressive views on climate issues.
“My view of Utah politics is that there’s a really strong pragmatic streak that runs through Utah politics, where people want to figure out how to solve problems,” he says. “And I feel like that’s how people are approaching this issue.”
Toor says Utah is second only to Colorado in the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s rankings of several Southwestern States’ electric vehicle policies.