Oregon wants to boost number of electric vehicles on roads

Author: KGW Staff, Chris McGinness

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Oregon surpassed an electric vehicle (EV) milestone over the summer, with 50,000 registered electric vehicles on the road, according to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The state’s new goal is to increase that number by five-fold and get an additional 250,000 EVs on streets in just three years.

Ellen Valarida works for Uber. Like people around the U.S. and in Oregon, she felt the financial impact of rising gas prices over the past couple of months.

“As time went on, my gas bill for my Dodge Journey went up to $1,000 a month,” Valarida said.

She went to the dealership and bought an EV, a Nissan Leaf. Now, she takes advantage of free charging offered at the dealership. The cost of gas is much less than the $1,000 per month she previously spent.

“When I do have to pay for charging, it’s at most $10 to fill up from absolute 0 to 100%,” Valarida said.

Oregon and the federal government have a number of cost-saving programs to try to entice people to go electric.

“When you stack everything together, you could potentially get up to $15,000 off the purchase of an EV, which is significant,” said Rachael Sakata with the DEQ.

The Oregon standard rebate, which is offered to anyone who purchases or leases a new EV, is $1,500 to $2,500.

With the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, starting in 2023, drivers can also receive a one-time federal tax credit of up to $7,500.

“I think it provides even more incentives for Oregonians to help them with their purchase of an electric vehicle,” Sakata said.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is working to expand EV charging infrastructure. The state stands to receive millions of dollars in funding to expand EV charging stations following the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“The federal government is finalizing what they call ‘minimum standards’ for that federal money,” said Matt Noble with ODOT.

Noble explains that the new standards will ensure that charging stations will be secure and accessible, and EV drivers will not be required to get a membership with a specific company in order to use them.

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