States Spurring Adoption of Electric Vehicles, But Barriers Remain, NGA Report Concludes

White Paper Spotlights Actions by Governors to Lead the Way on Electrification of Transportation

Governors are supporting a variety of policies to encourage greater use of electric vehicles, but many barriers to adoption remain, the National Governors Association (NGA) concluded in a white paper that summarized discussions from four regional workshops.

Motivations for taking action include potential environmental, economic development, resiliency and financial benefits. State interest in the topic is high, as evidenced by the participation in the NGA workshops in Connecticut, Tennessee, Washington and Missouri between November 2018 and May 2019. In total, 40 states and territories participated.

The white paper identified a number of policies and incentives that governors and other state officials have advanced in recent years to spur electrification. These include:

  • Issuing executive orders to electrify state fleets and set state-wide electrification goals;
  • Developing strategies for investments under the VW emissions test cheating settlement;
  • Clarifying rules for third-party (non-utility) providers of charging infrastructure;
  • Approving proposals by electric utilities for using ratepayer funding to support infrastructure investments;
  • Adopting zero-emissions vehicle programs; and,
  • Establishing regional programs to advance infrastructure and vehicle programs across multiple states.

The paper acknowledges that, despite increased efforts, the adoption of electric vehicles remains low in most of the country. The states with the highest levels of adoption, based on 2018 market share, are California at 7.84 percent, Washington at 4.28 percent and Oregon at 3.41 percent.  However, many observers expect adoption to grow substantially in the coming years, as the technology improves, initial costs decline, recharging infrastructure becomes more widespread, available vehicle models expand, and consumer familiarity increases. The paper suggests a number of possible actions to help states continue their progress:

  • Educating the public on available electric vehicle models, incentives and charging stations;
  • Continuing to assess and refine incentives to make them more impactful and equitable for consumers;
  • Continuing to utilize the VW settlement funds to expand electrification;
  • Examining new revenue models to address concerns with transportation revenue impacts; and,
  • Responding to demand impacts on the electricity grid through new rate designs.

A copy of the white paper can be viewed here.