Arizona scores poorly in new report ranking states with their efforts to boost EV industry


A recent report by a research firm, Plug In America, ranked Arizona in the average position. The ranking was based on how states took initiatives to boost the use of battery-powered and hybrid vehicles. Out of 100 points, Arizona was awarded 21.5 points. This was position 24 out of the 50 states of the US. In a similar study conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the state was ranked at number 25. The best State was California which garnered 91 points. The state has the best policies to help consumers buy electric cars and support them in using EVs. It also has a vast network of charging points and a sound awareness program to educate the residents on EVs’ benefits.

Arizona has not done much to encourage the shift to EVs. This report came as a surprise to experts. “I was shocked that, with what all other states are achieving out there, Arizona still got into the top 25. There is an immense distinction between those who made it into the top 10 versus those above that,” said Katherine Stainken, Plug In America’s policy director. On the ACEEE study, Arizona lost points for lacking sufficient stimulus to encourage consumers to buy EVs, empowerment programs to finance drivers from low-income areas, and an overall sluggard approach towards carbon emission reduction.

However, it earned points for providing off-peak rates to drivers charging their EVs. The researchers were also impressed by Arizona’s zero annual EV fees. The annual fees for electric cars scare buyers away even before they can purchase the car. The annual fee for EVs is bound to change any time after the state’s Senate Committee endorsed a tax bill that will introduce a$110 tax on electric cars. This tax comes as a replacement for the gasoline taxes that have dwindled since drivers migrated to EVs and hybrids. Hybrid users will pay $44 per year in taxes.

“We think that is ridiculous. That is more than the tax a normal gas car pays in gas tax for a year,” stated Jim Stack, Phoenix Electric Auto Association chief. The taxes will undoubtedly offset some of the road maintenance cost, but the administration may have gone overboard with the figures. “We don’t mind paying our fair share and some extra fee to help pay for roads because we know that is important, but you know, don’t scare people away before they even have a chance to buy an electric vehicle,” added Stack.

Arizona agreed to promote battery-powered transport in 2017, alongside seven other Western states. However, experts believe the state needs to do more work to realize this goal. “The more people feel a lot more comfortable buying electric vehicles, the more we can develop the charging facility along the highways and provide several in metro regions. You can drive as well as see gas stations anywhere else in the state, and we require to make sure that the charging points are just as noticeable,” Stainken added.

The state is not severely off with charging infrastructure but could do better. “People don’t understand how the improvements achieved when it comes to charging. Once people see these and understand how they work, it’s like, wow, you don’t have to worry with regard to the range anxiety,” explained Stack.
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