Diverse Groups Join Forces to Seek 1 Million More Electric Cars in State by 2023

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A diverse coalition of community-based, public health, science and conservation groups across the state launched a campaign this week to put 1 million more electric cars, trucks and buses on California roads within 10 years.

Charge Ahead California claims the shift to electric will clean up our air, improve health, lower transportation costs, keep more transportation dollars in-state, boost the economy and create new jobs.

One strategy of the campaign is to focus on directing current polluter fees on oil companies "to fund existing, highly successful purchase incentive programs and to increase access to zero-emission transportation in disadvantaged communities," reads a statement on the coalition's launch announcement Wednesday.

"Low income Californians want and need the cleaner air and fuel savings that electric vehicles can bring our communities," says Vien Truong, director of environmental equity at The Greenlining Institute, a policy and research institute dedicated to racial and social justice.

"Driving on electricity significantly reduces emissions and is equivalent to paying only one dollar-per-gallon in a gasoline vehicle," Truong continues in the campaign statement. "Bolstering our electric vehicle industry also means good-paying jobs in manufacturing and related fields that communities of color so urgently need."

Many companies are already expanding and creating new manufacturing jobs in response to increasing electric vehicle demand, Charge Ahead points out, including Quantum of Lake Forest, Vision Industries of Long Beach and, of course, Tesla, which is based in Fremont but has a sales lot in Newport Beach and service center in Costa Mesa near the OC Weekly offices.

Charge Ahead California supporters include: the state's American Lung Association; CALPIRG; the Coalition for Clean Air; Communities for a Better Environment; Environment California Research & Policy Center; The Greenlining Institute; the Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club California; and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Some enlightening facts the coalition throws down:

  • Cars, trucks, and buses are the single largest source of air pollution in California and are responsible for 34 percent of the state's soot and smog-forming pollution.

  • A recent MIT study found that traffic pollution causes almost 6,000 premature mortalities annually in California, almost twice the number killed in traffic accidents.

  • Four in 10 Californians, more than in any other state, live close enough to a freeway or busy road that they may be at increased risk of asthma, cancer and other health hazards.

  • California is one of eight states that have agreed to work together to put 3.3 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. Because it is the nation's largest single market for electric cars, California holds the key to meeting those goals.

  • Californians spend $70 billion on gasoline and diesel annually, $40 billion of which leaves the state in payments to oil companies and foreign oil producing countries. The use of electricity as a transportation fuel can help keep those dollars in the state, stimulating the economy, and insulating family budgets from gas price spikes.

  • Filling California's cars, trucks and buses with electricity instead of oil would help grow the state's economy, creating up to 100,000 additional jobs by 2030.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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