Ten years ago, electric vehicles made up less than one quarter of one percent of total U.S. car sales. But after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we’re on track to install thousands of electric vehicle charging stations across the country.
This will be the first-ever U.S. investment in electric vehicle charging stations. Let me repeat that. For the first time ever in American history, the federal government would be funding the necessary charging infrastructure that we need to transition away from gas-powered cars.
Here’s why this matters:
In the U.S., transportation is the greatest contributor to climate warming emissions, and the majority of those emissions come from everyday cars and trucks. Personal vehicles also emit toxic air pollution which harms our health. That’s why Environment America has been working for years to increase adoption of clean, emissions-free electric vehicles (EVs) by calling for 100% of car sales to be fully electric by 2035 (or sooner). To get there, we need to do three things: make electric vehicles cheaper and easier for people to buy, strengthen emission standards and build out infrastructure to support electric cars.
The bipartisan infrastructure package puts one of those key pieces of the puzzle into place.
One of the primary barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles is lack of access to public charging stations. Currently, electric vehicle drivers may face “range anxiety;” drivers fear they could be stranded on the road without access to fuel. To support the transition to electric vehicles, we need to dramatically increase the buildout of charging stations across the country.
Environment America has pressed hard for that transition. For years, Environment America’s state affiliates have built EV momentum at the state level, from increasing charging access in New Jersey and California to the decades-long work of helping get over a dozen states to commit to California’s low- and zero-emissions vehicle programs. Before President Joe Biden took office, Environment America released a report outlining the need for increased charging infrastructure at the state and national level to support the necessary transition to electric vehicles.
Then Biden proposed to do just that. In March, he set a goal to build out a network of 500,000 public EV charging stations by 2030 as part of the American Jobs Plan. Since then, we’ve been advocating to ensure that funding for this goal stays in the infrastructure bill and that we get that bill passed. We shared our expertise through media interviews explaining the importance of funding EVs and charging infrastructure. We published op-eds and LTEs explaining the relationship between weather-related disasters and climate change. We turned out hundreds of volunteers throughout the summer from Oregon to Pennsylvania, urging legislators to act on climate. We educated dozens of members of Congress and their staff about the electric vehicle charging needs in their state. And, we released a video with leaders from across the country on the importance of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.