(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown signed a new zero-emissions vehicles target into law yesterday, bringing Oregon one significant step forward towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
“With the passage of Senate Bill 1044, Oregon is helping lead the nation on how to transition to a cleaner, modern transportation system,” Gov. Brown said. “When zero-emission vehicles are widely used and charging stations are easily accessible to all, we can support economic development and the environment at the same time.”
A significant and increasing share of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector, with a majority coming from cars and trucks. SB 1044 will help drive down these emissions by setting goals, linked to Oregon’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, for the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the state.
ZEVs have no tailpipe emissions and run on cleaner fuel sources like electricity or renewable hydrogen. If the bill’s goals are met, ZEVs would become the dominant cars on the road. One measure of success is that 90 percent of all new vehicles sold in Oregon and 50 percent of all registered vehicles in Oregon would be ZEVs by 2035.
The legislation also requires the Oregon Department of Energy to monitor ZEV adoption and, if the state is not on target, recommend strategies to the Legislature to spur ZEV adoption. Potential strategies could include policies to develop more infrastructure (such as electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fueling stations) and increasing public awareness about ZEVs and their benefits.
SB 1044 requires that all light-duty vehicles owned or leased by the state of Oregon be ZEVs by 2029, and gives schools the option to use an existing funding source to purchase electric buses and charging stations.
Portland General Electric, Oregon Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Northwest Energy Coalition, Pacific Power, and Idaho Power worked with chief sponsors Senator Lee Beyer and Representative Jeff Reardon to promote the bill, supported by a coalition of other environmental, labor, and customer advocacy groups, and city mayors.
ZEVs offer several benefits for consumers, including similar or lower costs than comparable combustion-engine vehicles due to state and federal tax incentives; about $850 savings in fuel costs annually, and more in reduced maintenance costs.
Most ZEVs built today can drive between 150 and 240 miles on a single charge, and are supported by hundreds of fast-charging stations throughout the state.