Data shows taxpayer, air quality benefits of transitioning from gasoline, diesel-powered vehicles to EVs
Salt Lake City — 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.
In Utah, state and local governments would save taxpayers over $161 million if they collectively transitioned their light-duty fleets to electric when they retire older vehicles over the next decade. To put that another way, Utah stands to save 18% in lifetime total-cost-of-ownership expenses by purchasing EVs as opposed to gasoline-powered vehicles for their light-duty fleets over the next 10 years.
“As this report highlights, Western states in particular stand to save the most money from electrifying our government fleet vehicles,” states Kelbe Goupil, Senior Associate, Electrification at Utah Clean Energy. “The economic and air quality benefits are undeniable, underlining that there has never been a better time for Utah to invest in fleet electrification.”
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 Travis Madsen, Transportation Program Director at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “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.”
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.
“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.”
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Brandy Smith | Communications Director, Utah Clean Energy | email@example.com