Coming soon to LA, Electric Vehicles that charge up at "$1 per gallon"

Last week, I had a chance to show NRDC’s support for electric vehicles, which are beginning to gain in popularity in California as a cost-effective alternative to paying more than $4.50 to fill up your car. I should know, I just paid $65 the other day to fill up my Subaru.

At the press conference, Mayor Villaraigosa announced that the city will make it even easier for residents to own and charge all-electric vehicles through a pilot project – Charge Up LA – for customers of the Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The project will enable the first 1,000 electric car owners to receive a rebate of up to $2,000 to install chargers for electric vehicles at their homes. The goal is to provide rebates for up to 5,000 chargers by the end of program.

In exchange, customers will help get Los Angeles “EV ready” by participating in LADWP’s special electricity rate program and provide valuable data to the city about EV charging patterns to help the utility ensure that stresses on the grid are minimized.  The project could also help the city take advantage of renewable wind power if the vehicles are charged during the evening and night-time, the peak hours of wind production. The pilot project will also further LA’s efforts to be a hub for clean, innovative transportation solutions and reduce the city’s dependency on oil. When charging at discount off-peak or nighttime hours, operating costs for an electric car are around a dollar a gallon, much more economical than the current volatile gas prices.

What’s more, though these are steady improvements, car drivers are being offered a chance to help clean up some of the worst air in the country. According to American Lung Association State of the Air Reports from 2007-2010, Los Angeles has been reducing its air pollution, but is still ranked 4th on the list for short-term particle pollution and 3rd in year round particle pollution.

Running our cars and buses on cleaner fuel sources will remove tons of harmful air pollution daily and over time make a dramatic impact on the air quality of Los Angeles and surrounding areas. In LA, 300,000 pounds of daily emissions are eliminated because of the more than 2,000 clean buses on the streets and that’s in addition to the City’s 3,707 alternative fuel vehicles including small, low-speed electric vehicles to large trucks and heavy equipment operated by liquefied and compressed natural gas, propane, electric batteries, and hybrids.

LA is a big city known for our car addiction, but through electric vehicles, we can at least contribute to reducing mobile source pollution produced by running 6 million cars on our road every day. Hopefully a thousand electric cars today may soon be one million.