WHY WE’RE INVOLVED
Exhaust from cars and trucks pollutes our air and contributes to climate change. Dirty air from vehicles makes tens of thousands of Californians sick and costs us billions in avoidable health costs, with the worst effects often felt in communities of color and low-income and working class neighborhoods. Oil dependence means Californians have no place to turn when gas prices rise – which hurts low income and working families most.
California is helping to grow the market for electric cars and trucks by providing incentives to buyers and subsidizing the creation of infrastructure, including charging stations and upgrades to the electric grid. All our communities – not just the wealthy – must benefit from the growth in electric vehicles.
WORKING TO BRING CLEAN CARS TO UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES
Greenlining was among the first to shine a spotlight on the obstacles to widespread adoption of electric cars and trucks in communities of color in our 2011 report, “Electric Vehicles: Who’s Left Stranded?” And we were part of a historic settlement between the California Public Utilities Commission and NRG Energy Inc., intended to make these clean vehicles more accessible in low-income communities.
But that is not nearly enough, so in 2014, Greenlining worked to pass Senate Bill 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, introduced by Sen. Kevin de León (D – Los Angeles). As part of the Charge Ahead California steering committee, we are now shaping implementation of this law, which aims to bring one million electric cars, trucks and buses to California by 2023. SB 1275 is creating programs to increase mobility and bring access to clean vehicle technology to low-income Californians, who are disproportionately impacted by air pollution and often lack good transportation options
How are we doing this? We are helping California improve the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) by advocating for an income cap (mandated by SB 1275) that directs dollars to those who need them most and by ensuring that the project’s administration provides real, accessible incentives to low-income consumers through increased rebate amounts and point-of-sale rebates. Our report, “Electric Carsharing in Underserved Communities: Considerations for Program Success,” helped shape innovative, first-of-their kind electric carsharing programs in Los Angeles and San Diego geared to serve low-income drivers.
For low-income communities to use electric cars and trucks, they need access to charging facilities. We are involved in three proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission involving San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric that could bring over 90,000 charging ports to California communities. We are working with other advocates to ensure that these new charging stations meet the needs of disadvantaged communities and all ratepayers.
We continuously work to shape local and state policies and to secure state funding to drive tangible benefits in disadvantaged communities, such as electric vehicle rebates and vouchers, electric carsharing, and increased consumer access to electric vehicle financing options that can help families affordably join the EV revolution.