................An estimated 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in Maine stem from burning petroleum products, and more than half of that comes from cars and trucks. And as of last year, less than 1 percent of the 1.3 million vehicles registered in Maine were all-electric vehicles, or EVs.
There are many reasons. Even with government incentives, EVs cost more than comparable gas-powered cars. Drivers have lingering concerns about running out of battery charge, so-called range anxiety. Then there’s the lack of charging stations and, at least for now, low gasoline prices.
And despite publicity about manufacturers ramping up EV production, the report cautions that consumer awareness and interest remains very low........................
Maine now has a $2,000 tax credit for EVs, though at the same time, a federal incentive worth up to $7,500 is being phased out.
“Usually, the bigger the problem, the more attention you need to pay to get to solutions,” said Jeff Marks, Maine director at the Acadia Center, a regional group working on climate change issues. “And transportation is it.”
the Acadia Center supports the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collaboration of states from Maine to Virginia working to reduce carbon emissions on the road. But part of that effort envisions raising money through a surcharge on gasoline and diesel fuel, with some of it going to EV rebates and new charging stations. That’s a non-starter for opponents such as the Maine Heritage Policy Center, which said the tax would hurt low-income residents.
Marks said similar arguments were made against the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the multistate program that raises money by offsetting power plant emissions. RGGI, as it’s known, has raised millions of dollars to help Mainers pay for conservation and efficiency.
“It’s a political challenge anytime you talk about fees,” he said. “But we need to help the conversation along by saying this is an investment we need.”
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