Photo: Minorities, Those in Need of Cleaner Air May Benefit the Least from Electric Cars
Communities Most in Need of Clean Air May Benefit Least, Advocates Fear
A new report to be released Wednesday by The Greenlining Institute, the first ever to examine the impact of electric vehicles on communities of color, raises serious questions about whether EVs will have the needed impact on the communities most in need of clean air, within California and nationwide. Cost and lack of consumer education, the report argues, may blunt EVs’ impact in the communities that need them the most.
“Electric vehicles will do little to clean the air if the only people buying them are in Malibu and Marin,” said report author C.C. Song, green assets fellow at The Greenlining Institute. “We all want cleaner air and less use of fossil fuels, and electric vehicles and strong mileage standards can play a big part, but communities of color – 60 percent of California’s population – may miss out on the benefits of electric cars.”
Among the report’s findings:
* Polls have shown Californians of color to be more concerned about air pollution than whites, making them a natural market for EVs and hybrids.
* Despite this, 70 percent of hybrid owners are white, which does not bode well for widespread adoption of EVs in communities of color.
* Affordability remains a major concern, and the long-term future of federal and state tax incentives and rebates is uncertain.
* Creative efforts will be needed to increase EV market penetration in communities of color, including education about how the “smart grid” can help minimize charging costs.
* Because EVs will likely be unaffordable for many Americans for some time, clean air efforts must include a variety of other strategies, including strengthened public transit and car-sharing programs for low-emission vehicles.