New study on two transport subsidy programs shows EV-only focus fails
At its NGV20 Annual Industry Summit, NGVAmerica released the results of a multi-month study of public transportation subsidy programs in the States of Texas and California, and the results are quite striking. Over a 15-year time period from 2005 to 2019, Texas spent $561 million in public resources to assist in the transition to cleaner vehicle technologies. During the same time period, the California spent $816 million, or 46% more.
However, in terms of reducing harmful criteria pollutants to improve air quality, California achieved only a 35,229-ton reduction in NOx emissions, while Texas tallied reductions of 61,610 tons of NOx. Effectively, California regulators spent 46% more public money while accomplishing 43% less than Texas.
“This analysis presents a stark reality for state and federal policymakers to consider,” said NGVAmerica President Dan Gage. “Compared to California’s ZEV-only focus, the Texas approach results in less money spent, deploys more clean heavy-duty trucks and buses on the road, and achieves greater emissions reductions. The public is best served if state and federal regulators concentrate less on imposing single technology purchases and more on establishing realistic emissions reduction goals while allowing fleets the flexibility to choose the powertrain technology that best meets their needs.”
In completing its analysis, NGVAmerica collected data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TXCEQ) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and California Energy Commission (CEC). California focused its funding on medium- and heavy-duty battery electric vehicle test projects. In contrast, Texas focused on replacing older, dirtier medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks with newer, cleaner, CNG, LNG, LPG, diesel, and diesel hybrid alternatives. Overall, Texas spent 31% less money on more heavy-duty vehicles and reduced 75% more harmful NOx emissions than California.
Texas continues its clean air achievement by supporting vehicle choice and an “all of the above” approach to alternative fuel vehicle technologies. As Texas begins to add renewable natural gas to its natural gas vehicle investments, it is also creating actual carbon-free fleet solutions today. While supportive of increased renewable natural gas production capacity, California is moving to limit the best use of this captured biomethane – as a vehicle fuel – by supporting only ZEV purchases that require massive amounts of public funding to subsidize.
“Now more than ever, communities need affordable, available, and easily scalable clean transportation solutions that address pollution while ensuring that public funding is put to its best use,” added Gage. “Natural gas vehicles fueled by renewable natural gas is the best carbon-free, zero now solution.”