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Pa. Can Improve Its Policies to Encourage EV Use

Pennsylvania’s policies to encourage electric vehicles put it in the middle of new state rankings by a nonprofit group focused on combating climate change. The 2023 State Transportation Electrification Scorecard, recently released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, ranks Pennsylvania 16th out of 33 states evaluated for its overall policies. California was the leader in encouraging EV use, with 88 of a possible 100 points, followed by New York and Colorado. Pennsylvania had 33 points. Scores beyond the top 33 states were not included because each state achieved no more than 15% of the total available points. The scorecard evaluates states on their actions to support transportation electrification in the light-duty and heavy-duty sectors. States received points in four policy areas: electric vehicle and EV charging infrastructure planning and goal setting; incentives for EV deployment; transportation system efficiency; and electricity grid optimization; and transportation electrification outcomes. Pennsylvania was a leader in the incentives category for EVs and charging stations. The state’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate program was recently revamped to allow more lower-income residents to buy EVs by lowering maximum household income levels. The state also provides the same rebate for used vehicles as it does for new ones. “While all of the states and (Washington,) D.C. in our top 33 are making progress, there are varying approaches and plenty of room for improvement for many,” the report states. It recommended a number of next steps that should be taken. Those include: · Setting EV and charger deployment targets, and adopting rules to increase EV sales; · Providing incentives for EV purchases, and encouraging fair utility investments in charging infrastructure; · Establishing clean energy targets for the electric industry to promote grid scale decarbonization and reduce emissions from EVs; · Setting greenhouse gas reduction goals for the transportation sector to complement EV deployment efforts; · Increasing funding for underserved communities, aiming for Justice40’s objective of directing 40% of benefits to underserved communities; · Engaging communities throughout the planning process, investing in internal engagement capacity, and prioritizing community participation in mobility assessments. A number of initiatives have been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature to promote EV usage, and the state recently developed a state plan for electric vehicle infrastructure deployment in order to access funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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