While electric vehicles are undoubtedly much better for the environment than traditional gas-powered cars, one knock against them is that they are prohibitively expensive, making them inaccessible to the majority of Americans.
Now, in an effort to decrease pollution by helping lower-income residents afford EVs, the city of Los Angeles is going to offer qualified residents a rebate of up to $4,000 for used EV purchases, the New York Times reported.
The city previously offered a similar $2,500 rebate. Now, it is ramping up its efforts to get more people to shift to less polluting cars. It will also build a network of fast chargers in underserved neighborhoods.
“In order to reach a 100% clean energy transition you really need to bring everyone along,” Kate Anderson, a strategy lead at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, told the New York Times. “The transition is not going to just depend on the utility or the city making changes. It’s going to depend on everyone making changes in their households. The affordability piece is a huge challenge.”
The announcements from the Los Angeles city government come in response to a recent report from the NREL, which found that most of the incentives for clean energy programs are going to the wealthy, who need them the least.
“The current energy system is inequitable,” the report said. “Underserved communities experience more burdens (e.g., high energy burdens, unsafe temperatures, electricity outages, and poor air quality) and fewer benefits … only 23% of electric vehicles (EVs), 38% of solar, and 46% of efficiency incentives went to disadvantaged communities.”
“Working families in our city need to be assured that our city’s clean energy future won’t leave them trapped in the past,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said. “Many working families — some working two to three jobs to make ends meet — won’t buy or lease EVs if they don’t have access to convenient, timesaving, cost-saving places to charge them.”
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