State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced legislation with the Ohio Environmental Council, Clean Fuels Ohio and Smart Columbus to establish a statewide Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Study that will chart a course for Ohio to stay competitive in meeting developing EV standards and charging needs.

“Ohio needs to immediately develop a comprehensive, well financed electric vehicle infrastructure plan,” said Rep. Smith in his remarks. “This is a booming market, and Ohio has the opportunity to be a major player in it if we prepare now. We must fuel our future economy on electric vehicles, or we will be left behind.”

A record 1.1 million EVs were sold in 2017, with that number expected to rise to 11 million in 2025 and 30 million in 2030. While EV sales having been increasing as consumers find that they are a more cost- effective method of transportation than traditional vehicles, Ohio’s charging infrastructure has not kept up with demand.“Ohioans spend $11 billion per year on gasoline and 84% of it leaves Ohio immediately,” said Clean Fuels Ohio Executive Director Sam Spofforth. “It is vital that we establish policies to ensure that growth in EV adoption will benefit all utility customers and Ohio’s economy.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States imported about 19% of the petroleum Americans consumed in 2017. The expansion of the use of electric vehicles in Ohio could help keep money in the state by reducing the amount of oil purchased, improve the quality of life by reducing emissions in some of Ohio’s most polluted cities and provide Ohioans with economic opportunities for clean energy jobs.

“Greater deployment of electric vehicles reduce smog, improve Ohioans’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to a warming climate,” said Trish Demeter, Vice President of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, who supports the bill. “Taking into consideration that more electric vehicles on the road also provide economic benefits – such as job creation and lower costs for individual consumers and fleet owners – there are very few, if any, downsides to encouraging more EVs on Ohio’s roadways.”

The study committee will examine Ohio’s state and local EV charging infrastructure costs and determine the amount of revenue and funding sources needed to make Ohio competitive.

“Central Ohio is rapidly emerging as the Midwestern leader in electric vehicle adoption, thanks to the $10 million grant awarded to Columbus by the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies as the winner of the Smart City Challenge,” said Michael Stevens, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Columbus, who stands in support of the proposed legislation. “We are pleased to join partners from across the state to share what Smart Columbus has learned about electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure, so that we may continue to accelerate EV adoption to improve air quality and future-proof our infrastructure throughout the state.”

The committee will be required to make budget recommendations for implementing electric vehicle charging infrastructure by May 31, 2019.

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