FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Call or text: (206) 799-3805
GROUP URGENTLY CALLS FOR LOWER TRANSPORTATION COSTS
Expand EV Sales Tax Relief, Incentives for EV Purchases & more
Newly-Launched Amtrak Bus Route Motorcoach + more EVs on Display
(Seattle, WA) September 6, 2023 –On the same day results from Washington state’s third greenhouse gas allowance auction are being released, Clean & Prosperous WA urgently called for increased incentives for the purchase of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) including expanding the sales tax exemption to all new EV purchases for two years, reducing or rescinding transportation costs like car tab fees and more.
“We need to SURGE our investments in transitioning to cheaper fuels,” said Michael Mann, Executive Director of Clean & Prosperous Washington. “That’s a ‘Strategy for the Urgent Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ and we don’t have time to waste. These incentives are desperately needed to get EVs into the hands of all our citizens.”
On top of $2.1 billion in climate investments approved by the legislature earlier this year, allowance auctions could raise an additional $1B over the biennium to provide incentives and lower the cost of transportation for all Washington residents and businesses. “Despite our advantages in clean power and electricity costs in Washington state, we still fall behind other peer states in numbers of electric vehicles being driven,” added Mann.
The group says over 130,000 Washingtonians are already driving for the equivalent of less than $1.50 a gallon by using an electric vehicle, but additional incentives from the state are needed to provide this benefit to more residents and businesses, including those in disadvantaged communities who are most impacted by greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
“The all-electric van you see behind me is part of our van-share program that serves over 200 community-based organizations, like Byrd Barr Place, that are all struggling with the high cost of gasoline and diesel,” said Paula Sardinas, Founder and CEO of Nonprofit Purpose Driven Girl. “With this all-electric van, they can reduce their fuel costs by over 60 percent, saving thousands of precious dollars in operating costs every year.”
At a press conference held at MTR Western headquarters in South Seattle, MTR President Jeremy Butzlaff stood in front of an all-electric VanHool motorcoach, newly acquired by MTR and launched to run the first all-electric Amtrak bus route in the country.
“This is a great start but as you can see, we have many more diesel vehicles we need to replace,” said Butzlaff. “At a cost premium of $600K apiece, we need an incentive partnership with the Federal and Washington state governments to acquire more of these fully electric motorcoaches and do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The group is calling on the legislature to:
- Expand the sales tax exemption to all zero emission vehicles sold in the state for the next two years
- Remove the EV fee for all new EV purchasers for the next two years
- Implement purchase incentives for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and rebates for low-income purchasers
- Reduce or rescind car tab fees for the next two years on all vehicles to assist drivers & households that can’t switch to electric straight away
- Provide an energy-cost bonus to those who qualify for the Working Families Tax Credit
- Accelerate program linkage with California/ Quebec to broaden the carbon market.
Also in attendance at the press conference was Nisqually Tribe Electrical Project Manager, Mike Elliott who noted the tribes are already doing a great deal to reduce their carbon footprint. “This Ford F-150 Lightning truck behind me has been in operation for a number of months,” said Elliott. “We operate over 100 trucks and vans and now have three Zero Emission Vehicles. We are planning to add three more in September and another 3 by the end of the year. We need the Legislature to provide incentives to tribes directly, as tax incentives do not apply to tribes.”
As the results of the third emissions auction were poised to be released at the time of the press conference, Clean & Prosperous reiterated its position that the Climate Commitment Act is working as it was intended to work. “Regulated parties in Washington are taking carbon reduction seriously and setting the market for greenhouse gas reductions,” said Mann. “The higher settlement prices have had an impact on gas prices because oil companies are no longer getting free access to pollute our skies and waters.
“Oil companies are now running a million-dollar advertising effort to convince the Washington State Legislature to gut the Climate Commitment Act,” continued Mann. “Clean & Prosperous Washington believes this is a recipe for continued high and volatile transportation costs – meaning Washington residents and businesses will end up paying more to move people and goods without the CCA.
“We know you can save more money by switching to electric transportation in Washington state than anywhere else in the country. Let’s use the Climate Commitment Act to make Washington the cheapest place to purchase an electric vehicle and bring those transportation cost savings to everyone in the state,” added Mann.
More About Clean & Prosperous Washington
Clean & Prosperous Washington is a team of business leaders working with labor, tribes, environmental organizations, and social justice advocates to enact smart climate policies in Washington state. Together we are driving down greenhouse gas emissions while working to improve health and job outcomes, propel a stronger, more globally competitive economy, and serve as a beacon of best-in-the-nation climate action for other states to emulate. The CaPWA coalition proved effective in helping the cap-and-invest Climate Commitment Act (CCA) win passage in Olympia, and is now actively helping to implement the CCA as the cornerstone of an entire suite of environmental laws including the Clean Fuel Standard and the HEAL Act – Healthy Environment for All. CaPWA brings an action-oriented, data-driven, strategic business approach to moving public- and private-sector climate work forward with urgency.