Pennsylvania looks to boost electric car sales

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (Office of Gov. Tom Wolf)

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has begun drafting a regulation that would require automakers to offer electric cars for sale in Pennsylvania as a way to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants that cause lung problems, it said Friday.

At least 12 states already have a requirement for the zero-emission electric vehicles, including neighbors Maryland, New Jersey and New York.

Drafting a regulation and shepherding it through the approval process often takes a year or more.

The rule would help ensure that automakers offer new zero emissions electric vehicle models for sale in Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection said. Right now, opportunities to test drive and buy electric vehicles in Pennsylvania are limited, it said.

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The department was unable to say what sort of percentage requirement it will propose, since the regulation hasn’t been drafted yet. Citing data from Atlas EV Hub, the department said electric vehicles were 1.15% of Pennsylvania light-duty vehicle sales in the third quarter of 2020, the most recent data available.

It would not impose specific percentages of electric vehicles at each car dealership, but rather would apply to auto manufacturers and all vehicles delivered for sale in Pennsylvania, the department said.

Programs in other states do not typically apply to smaller manufacturers and medium-sized and larger manufacturers can comply with the requirement through a credit system, in which they earn credits based on the kind of vehicles they deliver.

David Masur, executive director of the Philadelphia-based environmental advocacy group PennEnvironment, said the announcement is important.

"This is good for our planet, good for public health and it’ll be good for consumers because Pennsylvania will get ahead of where the market is naturally heading anyway," Masur said.



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