By DAVE SCHWAB
Mission Times Courier & College Times Courier
With the passage of recent state legislation phasing out the sale of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a clear message has been sent encouraging the state’s drivers to switch to electric cars.
But is San Diego ready for such a transition?
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order that amounts to the most aggressive clean-car policy in the nation. Although it bans the sale of new gas cars and trucks after the 15-year deadline, it will still allow such vehicles to be owned and sold on the used-car market.
The City of San Diego is incorporating accommodating electric vehicles into its planning for the region’s transportation future.
“One of the main strategies in the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan is to lower emissions from our transportation sector, so electric vehicles are certainly a key component of that,” said Nicole Darling in the City’s Communications Department.
Noting an update to the City’s Climate Action Plan adopted in 2015 is currently underway, Darling pointed out the CAP update includes “gathering the viewpoints and priorities of our residents. An online survey is available and virtual forums are planned for every council district. We anticipate that the CAP update will include targets related to electric vehicles and charging stations across the city.”
Presently, the City has 57 electric vehicle charging stations (68 ports) at 15 locations. The locations include destination sites such as Balboa Park, other parks and recreation centers, libraries, and entertainment districts. Information about the charging stations can be viewed at www.bit.ly/3jyyUgl.
Concerning the future of infrastructure serving electric vehicles in the City, Darling said, “We expect public charging in the region will increase over time and we are regularly looking for opportunities to continue that expansion. We are specifically looking to facilitate the deployment of charging stations in areas of the City that have the lowest access to clean energy resources (using our Climate Equity Index as a guide for prioritization). We are in regular discussions with our fellow regional public agencies in the County and the San Diego Association of Governments (regional transportation planning agency) about identifying grant opportunities to fund regional public charging stations.”
Recently, the American Lung Association released “The Road to Clean Air,” a new report that outlines the benefits of a transition to an electric transportation sector increasingly powered by clean, non-combustion renewable energy over the coming decades. The report finds a transition to electric cars, buses, and trucks by mid-century would both improve air quality and address climate change, benefiting the lives and health of Americans.
In the report, San Diego was listed as one of the top 10 metro areas that would see the greatest benefit from a transition to electric vehicles.
“The transportation sector is a leading contributor to air pollution and climate change,” said William Barrett, director of advocacy, clean air for the lung association. “We have the technology to transition to cleaner cars, trucks, and buses, and by taking that step we can prepare San Diego for the future while also seeing the health and economic benefits forecasted in ‘The Road to Clean Air.’ Especially as our state faces the impacts of climate change such as extreme storms, this is a powerful and practical opportunity to take action to improve our economy, our health, and our future.”
Check out the City’s Climate Action Plan survey at www.SDClimateSurvey.org.
— Contributing editor Dave Schwab can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.