Editorial – Surge: Albany’s electric car mandate raises several concerns | Editorials


Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul enacted a bill to ban the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035.

It is an ambitious plan, which is part of the state’s goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. The state legislature passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019.

This requires the state to produce at least 70% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. In addition, New York must achieve zero-emission energy by 2040 and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050.

The bill signed by Hochul on September 8 will force cars to go electric in 14 years and trucks to follow suit in 24 years.

“Gov. Kathy Hochul today announced new measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from the transportation sector. The governor signed a law (A4302 / S2758), setting a goal that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in New York State be zero emission by 2035. In addition, the governor ordered the ministry to Environmental Conservation to publish a draft regulation significantly reduce air pollution from trucks. If passed, the regulation would speed up sales of zero-emission trucks, leading to improved air quality statewide and especially in communities disproportionately affected by transportation-related pollution, ” according to a press release issued on September 8 by the Hochul office. “Under the new law, new all-terrain vehicles and equipment sold in New York are expected to be zero-emission by 2035 and new medium and heavy vehicles by 2045. The law also requires the development of a zero emission system. vehicle development strategy by 2023, which will be led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to accelerate the implementation of state policies and programs necessary to meet the new goals of the law.

The move prompts some municipalities in upstate New York to take stock of the vehicles they will need to replace in the near future. Communities must also determine the number of charging stations they will have to install to meet the demand resulting from this law.

It is good that officials are starting to have these conversations. They don’t want to be caught off guard during terms of office.

In light of the threats of climate change we face, New York has taken bold steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously, it is important that governments at all levels adopt effective measures that will tackle the problems.

But even if it seems gradual, making electric vehicles mandatory raises other questions. The cars themselves will produce zero emissions – fantastic!

But what about their energy sources? Will New York find a way to reduce its dependence on carbon-based energy when it needs zero-emission vehicles?

The state places a lot of emphasis on wind and solar projects to generate an adequate supply of energy for the regions that need it most. In the process of implementation, however, the northern country is under pressure to accommodate many of these facilities.

What commitment does New York have to the use of hydroelectric power? Many have questioned the state’s willingness to take advantage of what upstate New York has to offer with this energy source after it recently signed an agreement with Hydro-Quebec, a Canadian company, to provide electricity. electricity to New York City.

Nuclear power must also be part of the state’s energy solution. But the shutdown of the Indian Point power plant earlier this year reveals the challenges the industry faces.

Another major concern about the state’s mandate that new vehicles do not produce emissions is whether residents will actually comply with an order from Albany to purchase specific cars. While the law doesn’t directly force people to buy electric vehicles (they could still get used cars with fuel-powered engines), we have to believe this is a sign of things to come.

No government should force their constituents to buy something they don’t want. This practice must be left to the free market. Once residents recognize the benefit of using zero emission vehicles, they will start purchasing them in larger quantities, thus avoiding the need for a government mandate.

Also, how will this law affect the interstate travel of New Yorkers? Electric vehicles are beneficial for getting around communities, especially those with a sufficient number of charging stations.

But visiting other states could become problematic for New York residents with electric cars. Will these people be stranded if the state they are in does not have enough charging stations or facilities with the charging capacity they need?

Will New Yorkers be inclined to buy their new vehicles in other states to get around this problem? What effect will this have on tax revenues from car dealerships? Will Albany end up decreeing gas stations to be phased out?

Strongly encouraging the use of electric vehicles without forcing it would be a better policy for the state government. In doing so, New York should find ways to create more charging stations. Officials should also study the economic effects that these mandates will have in the near future.

Moving away from fossil fuels is essential to reverse worrying trends in climate change. However, questions remain as to how the state will achieve its goals. We need answers to these questions before we implement these changes.

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