Accelerating electric vehicles

Transportation is our biggest driver of climate change—and electric vehicles are a key solution

With transportation the largest source of climate change-driving pollution nationwide and in most of the South, as well as a leading source of other pollutants that harm our health—electrifying the vehicles we use is an important part of how we need to change our approach to transportation.

Electric cars, trucks, buses, and trains do not emit any tailpipe pollution, significantly reducing carbon and other harmful air pollutants. Even accounting for the pollution produced in generating the electricity they use, electric vehicle (EV) emissions are just a fraction of their fossil fuel-powered counterparts. And the environmental and health benefits of EVs will only increase as electric power generation gets cleaner.

EVs also offer lower fuel and maintenance costs, and they are becoming a viable option for more uses and more people due to rapid improvements in the distance they can drive on a charge, more widespread availability, expanding charging networks, and faster chargers.

Solving our transportation pollution problems will take more than just electric vehicles, but we certainly can’t do it without them.

Travis Pietila, SELC Senior Attorney

We are working at the federal, state, and local levels to accelerate the adoption of EVs and other clean vehicle technologies through stronger standards, policies, and incentives, and southern states are helping to lead the way. In early 2021, Virginia took bold action by adopting Advanced Clean Car standards that will ensure more fuel-efficient vehicles are sold in the state, and that EVs are readily available to Virginia car buyers. Now with a new governor in Virginia, we are fighting to ensure that those Clean Car standards are implemented.

As other states in our region seek to adopt similar standards, we work to make similar outcomes a reality.

At the same time, we want to ensure that the benefits of these clean vehicle technologies are shared by all. To accomplish this, we advocate for incentives to make EVs affordable for lower-income buyers, public funding to purchase electric transit and school buses in overburdened communities, and increased access to EV charging facilities for those facing barriers to at-home charging.