Tag fees for electric, high-fuel mileage vehicles to raise

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION -

The state of Oregon did not meet its goal of 50,000 registered zero-emission vehicles by 2020, and it is not on track to meet its 2025 or 2030 goals, either, according to a new report.

The Oregon Department of Energy released its 2021 Biennial Zero Emission Vehicle Report to the Oregon Legislature on Thursday. It said that increasing the sale of emissionless vehicles is essential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

As of June 2021, there were 38,482 light-duty zero-emission vehicles registered in Oregon. That is well below the 50,000 goal set by Gov. Kate Brown and is just over 1% of passenger vehicles.

However, because of the growing availability and decreasing costs of new models, combined with the enactment of new state incentive programs, Oregon is well positioned to increase the sale of ZEVs in future years

According to Assistant Director for Planning and Innovation Alan Zelenka, the largest emitter of GHG emissions in Oregon is the transportation sector, accounting for more than one-third of total emissions. Of that, more than half come from passenger and lightduty vehicles.

"Making the switch to ZEVs can dramatically reduce emissions and help meet Oregon's climate goals," Zelenka said in an introductory letter.

The state had planned to have at least 250,000 registered ZEVs by 2025; at least 25% of registered motor vehicles by 2030; and at least 90 percent of new motor vehicles sold annually by 2035.

The report admits Oregon is not on track to meet the 2025 and 2030 goals. But it does not rule out the 2035 goal.

"Oregon is too early in the ZEV technology adoption curve to assess progress on the ZEV adoption goal of 90 percent ZEV market share by 2035. But because the goal is strictly based on market share and not total registrations, there is some qualitative evidence that the goal is achievable," the report said.

The report cites several reasons why the 2035 goal could be met, including the increasing number of all kinds of ZEVs vehicles, from all-electric cars and crossovers, plug-in cars, vans and crossovers; electrified bikes and scooters; and electrified buses and commercial trucks. Prices are falling as production increases. Another helpful factor is the increasing number of public charging stations across the state and financial incentives offered by the federal and state governments.

"One of the questions posed by the legislature is how the cost of electric vehicles compares to their gasoline-powered counterparts. The report finds that thanks to incentive programs like the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's Clean Vehicle Rebate and Charge Ahead Rebate programs, and a federal EV tax credit, some electric models can cost less than their gasoline-powered counterparts," the energy department said.

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