New PennEnvironment Study Showing Taxpayer Savings and Climate Pollution Reductions With EVs

Electric Vehicle© Melpomenem / Getty Images / Canva

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Pennsylvania’s commonwealth and local governments could save Keystone State taxpayers over $360 million 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 the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group.

“Buying, fueling and maintaining gas- and diesel-fueled fleet vehicles is a big expense for governments — especially when gas prices are high,” said Flora Cardoni, Field Director with PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center. “Shifting to electric vehicles can save money for taxpayers by significantly reducing fuel and maintenance costs, while also improving air quality.”

The report also documents how state and local fleet transitions to EVs will reduce air pollution and global warming emissions in Pennsylvania over the next decade. Pennsylvania could expect to see an 800,000 ton reduction in global warming pollution by transitioning government fleets to EVs, emitting 64% less climate pollution than vehicles powered by gasoline. The switch would also reduce carbon monoxide emissions from government vehicle fleets by 94%, VOC emissions by 92%, and nitrogen oxide emissions by 31%.

“As an emergency physician, I regularly see patients affected by pollution and climate change,” said State Representative Arvind Venkat (D-Allegheny). “Now is the time to take advantage of technological developments and move to electrify our vehicle fleet to benefit ourselves, our community, and our planet.”

“Embracing fleet electrification is not just a move towards modernity; it’s a commitment to safeguarding our environment for future generations,” said State Representative Ben Waxman (D-Philadelphia). “By transitioning to electric vehicles, we drive towards a cleaner future, reducing harmful emissions that threaten the health of the planet as well as our people.”

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Nationwide, U.S. taxpayers could save nearly $11 billion over the next 10 years if state and local governments collectively transitioned their light-duty fleets to electric when they retire older vehicles.

Across the nation, 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%).

“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.”

While the fleet transition would require 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.

“The shift to electric vehicles isn’t just climate-saving, it’s cost-saving,” said Rep. Takac. “As elected officials, we often have to make difficult decisions. The shift to electric vehicles is not one of them.”

Elected officials at every level can help lead the way by setting ambitious goals, adopting fleet electrification plans, and getting good policies to the finish line.

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“We want to make it easy for people to adopt electric vehicles to alleviate our reliance on fossil fuels to support a clean environment and reduce the impact of climate change,” said Rep. Joe Ciresi (D-146th).

“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. Pennsylvania’s local and state governments can lead by example in electrifying our vehicles,” said Cardoni.

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