LTE: Zero-emission law what New York needs for stable future

The following letter to the editor was published in the Times Union on April 30, 2021 and was written by Rachel Patterson, Legislative & Climate Associate at EANY.

I was surprised to read the Viewpoint “We need more data ahead of zero-emission law,” April 16, because we unquestionably do have the data to move into a zero-emission vehicle future.

State legislators advanced a bill that would set a goal to make 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks zero-emission by 2035. While this is a big shift, which some call “impulsive,” it’s a common-sense standard being set 14 years ahead of when it would need to be met. This is a necessary step to achieve the emissions reduction goals of New York’s climate law that requires an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Implications that this proposal will “blow up New York’s economy” are unfounded. This bill would support the growth of electric vehicle-related jobs and lower the long-term cost of vehicle ownership. As the electric vehicle market continues to grow, the state utilities and agencies have committed to expanding charging access across New York, which means huge job growth statewide.

Electric vehicles also make sense for consumers since they cost less to maintain than traditional vehicles. In addition, electric vehicles are expected to cost the same as gasoline vehicles within the next five years, which means lower-income buyers won’t be impacted. And this will only apply to the sale of new vehicles so low- and moderate-income drivers won’t be forced to trade in their cars.

This is the kind of policy that New York needs for a stable future.