Under new regulations now in place to minimize carbon pollution from power plants, Virginia officials are setting the groundwork for addressing a much more obscure origin of emissions: cars.
Nearly half of the commonwealth’s carbon dioxide emissions can all directly trace to transport — vehicles, aircraft, and trucks as well. Unlike the electric grid that’s dominated by a few significant players, automobile travel is entangled with millions of Americans’ lives and livelihoods. It provides politicians trying to delay climate disruption with a formidable task: to convince citizens’ ranks to alter their habits or to try to radically reshape the contours of a culture that has been unwilling to invest in public transportation for decades.
Electrification has proven to be a convenient means of threading the needle. For drivers, electric vehicles can also be switched relatively easily to gasoline-powered cars. Battery processing advances push prices down gradually. And in a period of an impending recession, the promise of a growing economic sector is especially enticing.
Most significantly, they work when the aim is to cut carbon emissions. Chris Bast, the deputy director at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, said that a Virginia electric vehicle is about 75 percent safer than one powered by gasoline. He further added that in the very coal-heavy regions of the South, plug in an electric car is more reliable than driving for the atmosphere on fuel.
When it applies to charge points, the utilities themselves tend to be in a position to play a part in the industry but not dominate it. When the use of electric vehicles increases, demand on the grid rises too. Nonetheless, many proponents for electrification and the utilities themselves claim that if the use of EV combines with electric prices that allow drivers to recharge their cars throughout hours, whenever the demand is weak, the entire network can see gains.
Regulators would not be automatically obliged to explain all of their concerns about electric cars. However, the docket released this spring reveals their expectation that they’ll face several policy problems related to EVs relatively soon.
In conclusion, the 2020 session witnessed only limited progress on electric cars, with lawmakers concentrating more on power generation and service companies. Some of the laws that made the General Assembly explicit were to order a report and specific task on the viability of an incentive system for electric vehicles.