Maine seeks to get more electric vehicles on the road


Maine could see more electric vehicles on its roads under a law signed by Gov. Janet Mills that seeks to expand the number of charging stations.

The new law calls for accelerating Maine's transition to electric vehicles by encouraging the installation of more electric charging stations and reducing the costs that consumers pay for charging vehicles. It requires the state Public Utilities Commission to work with utilities to develop a range of rates for electric charging.

The measure's primary sponsor, state Rep. Nicole Grohoski, D-Ellsworth, said the “takes a meaningful step to address emissions from Maine’s most significant remaining source of greenhouse gas emissions – and it does so not by a directive, but by reducing a barrier to voluntary action.”

“Now that electric cars are as affordable as conventional cars over their lifespans, it is important that we have more charging infrastructure in Maine so that residents and visitors can travel around freely,” Grohoski posted on social media.

Maine's climate change plans call for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. Tailpipe pollution accounts for more than half of the state's emissions.

Currently, electric vehicles account for only about 1% of the registered cars and trucks on the roads, according to the Maine Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Mills recently signed an executive order calling for a “clean transportation roadmap” to achieve the state’s climate plan goal to put another 200,000 EVs on the road within the next decade.

The order requires the state to come up with a series of recommendations by the end of the year to boost the EV market. The plans will include expanding charging infrastructure, evaluating the impact on electric utilities and the grid, and ensuring an equitable and affordable transition to clean transportation

On a federal level, the Biden administration is also hoping to encourage more people to trade in their fossil-fuel burning cars, trucks and SUVs for electric vehicles.

President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, which is pending before Congress, includes more than $15 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure.

The funding would be used to expand electric charging stations, upgrades to factories to build EVs, as well as grants and tax incentives to encourage buyers.

Biden has also pledged to replace the federal government’s 650,000 vehicle motor fleet with EVs. Currently, federal agencies only have about 3,000 EVs in their motor pools.

Nationwide, cars and light trucks account for about 60% of vehicle emissions that scientists say are contributing to climate change, according to the White House.

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