Transportation EV-olution: Oregon Reaches Electric Vehicle Milestone

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The state of Oregon recently passed a milestone in its effort to bolster public opinion of electric vehicles.

In April, the state surpassed 50,000 registered electric vehicles and data from the Oregon Department of Transportation show electric vehicles charging up in all 36 Oregon counties.

“Transportation – from our family cars to moving goods to providing services – produces over 40 percent of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change in Oregon,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “Moving to cleaner alternative fuel options like electric vehicles will reduce emissions, promote cleaner air and public health, and help us achieve our climate goals.”

Following Brown’s 2017 executive order to bolster electric vehicle adoption, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1044 in 2019, which outlined bold EV targets for the state – including at least 250,000 registered EVs by 2025 and an increasing share of new vehicles sold each year.

“Just a decade ago, Oregon had fewer than 1,000 EVs on our roads,” said Oregon Department of Energy Director and EV owner Janine Benner. “As more model options roll off assembly lines over the next few years, including more trucks and SUVs, I expect we’ll see adoption among Oregonians continue to rise.”

Managed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program is making EVs more accessible to Oregon families.

“EV buyers who qualify for our rebates can save up to $7,500 on a new or used model,” said Richard Whitman, director of Oregon DEQ. “And those incentives can be stacked. Federal tax credits are still available for many EV models, and several Oregon electric utilities offer additional savings on EV purchases or charging infrastructure.”

The state’s GoElectric.Oregon.gov website lists available incentives and provides helpful information for potential buyers looking to make the switch. DEQ is proposing clean car rules, which would require manufacturers to make increasing percentages of EVs available by 2035. This would provide even more electric vehicle options for consumers.

The Oregon Department of Energy developed an Electric Vehicle Dashboard to better understand Oregon’s EV adoption trends, including the number of EVs per county and how registrations are changing over time. The dashboard also provides a calculator to help Oregonians determine how much they could save by driving an EV. In ODOE’s 2021 Biennial Zero Emission Vehicle Report, the agency found that for Oregonians who can access most of the state and federal incentives, buying a new EV can cost less than a similar gasoline vehicle.

“We’re committed to getting more electric vehicles on Oregon’s roads and 50,000 registered EVs is a major milestone” said Amanda Pietz, administrator of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Policy, Data & Analysis Division. “EVs make up about 8 percent of new cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in Oregon, and we’ll support that growing market through partnerships to build out EV charging stations along major roads and in Oregon’s communities.”

In May, ODOT committed $100 million in federal and state funds over the next five years to expand Oregon’s charging infrastructure.

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