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Looking for relief? The Clean Cars Nevada program could be the answer – Las Vegas Sun


In recent months, Nevada drivers have seen a steady increase in gasoline prices across the state. With people getting back to work in offices and travel restrictions easing, there’s been a strain on gas supply while demand rises.

According to AAA, the national average cost for a gallon of gas is $3.28, while Nevada drivers are paying, on average, $3.88 and in some areas over $4 per gallon every time they fill up.

With the cost of necessities climbing, the COVID-19 pandemic still ravaging communities, and extreme weather events occurring regularly across the country due to the climate crisis, it’s quite clear, now more than ever, that everyone could use some relief.

Nevada consumers may be in luck soon. Thanks to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection for leading a robust rule-making process, consumers across the Silver State are very close to benefiting from the Clean Cars Nevada program. In September, the State Environmental Commission (SEC) unanimously approved the program and it now moves to the Nevada Legislative Commission for a vote. If approved, Nevada consumers will benefit from having more options for low-emission and electric vehicles available for sale in the state starting in model year 2025. With more clean cars on the road, Nevada residents would enjoy improved air quality and better overall public health.

If you’ve recently shopped in Nevada for a new electric vehicle, you may have noticed that your options for affordable EVs are sparse. That’s because there are only a dozen or so vehicle models, out of hundreds, that are fully battery-electric on the market in the state, with none of them being pickup trucks or full-size SUVs.

Results from a 2020 Consumer Reports statewide representative survey make this even more disappointing, as we found that nearly three out of four Nevada adult drivers have an interest in buying or leasing an electric vehicle, and about 10% of consumers plan to buy an EV for their next car purchase.

However, with limited choices, Nevada consumers are left with a couple of options that don’t make the path to EV ownership easy: leave the state and spend their dollars on an electric vehicle in neighboring California, or buy a pollution-emitting gas-powered vehicle that costs a lot more to maintain and repair over the life of the car compared with an EV.

Nevada car buyers shouldn’t have to cross state lines to find the vehicle they’re looking for and local dealers shouldn’t have to lose out on business when they do.

If Nevada consumers are actually able to get their hands on an EV in state, there are considerable cost savings that make having one of these cars so attractive. Consumer Reports research found that when consumers switch from a gas-powered car to a new electric vehicle, they can cut fueling costs by about 60%. For Nevadans driving 15,000 miles per year, the savings can add up to between $1,000 to $1,200 annually.

Additionally, EV drivers on average spend 50% less on repair and maintenance costs compared with owners of gas-powered cars. With fuel prices continually fluctuating and electricity prices staying relatively stable, it’s obvious that making the switch would be a good move for consumers’ wallets.

During the proposal phase, the Clean Cars Nevada program has been embraced broadly by diverse state and local leaders due to the plethora of benefits for consumers and the environment that the legislation would yield. CR survey results also show that Nevadans support government policies that would expand consumer choice and lower the cost of electric vehicle ownership, and over half of adult Nevada drivers agreed that the state should require automakers to offer plug-in EV options.

That’s why it’s imperative that Nevada lawmakers put policies in place that people actually want — policies that promote electric transportation, create long-term jobs in a growing sector, and reduce air pollution. As early as this month, the state’s Clean Cars program can head to the Nevada State Legislative Commission for a vote, where the regulation may or may not be fully approved. Let’s hope that the state’s leaders see the benefits of moving forward with a program that results in a win for consumers and the environment alike.

Quinta Warren serves as the associate director of sustainability policy at Consumer Reports, where she advocates for and researches policies related to clean transportation, renewable energy, and other sustainability-related consumer issues.





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