Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2165 into law this week, expanding access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, particularly to rural communities, low-income Oregonians and people of color.
In a statement, Brown said the transportation sector is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon, and pollutants from diesel and gasoline combustion pose immediate public health risks for vulnerable communities.
“In Oregon, we are taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address the climate crisis head-on,” she said. “From commercial trucks to personal cars, the future of transportation in this country is electric.”
She said the bill, which her office requested and introduced, will build on her previously announced goal of making zero-emission vehicles the most common on Oregon’s roads by 2035.
“The next generation of electric cars, vans, trucks, and SUVs will have the range and capability to handle even the toughest conditions rural Oregon roads can throw at them,” she said. “With the passage of HB 2165, these next-generation vehicles can become more accessible to all income levels and communities.”
Brown, as chair of the Western Governors’ Association, has also launched the Electric Vehicles Roadmap Initiative to lay out the path to the adoption of zero-emission technology, from consumer incentives and tax exemptions to building the electric vehicle infrastructure we will need across the West.
HB 2165 addresses equity by expanding the benefits of vehicle electrification to communities of color, rural, and low-income communities across Oregon.
It also helps Oregon achieve its ambitious electric vehicle goals through an extension of the state’s successful EV rebate program and the collection of a new utility charge for utilities to expand EV infrastructure.
Specifically, the bill removes the current sunset on funding for the state’s EV rebate programs and strengthens the Charge Ahead EV Rebate Program to better serve low-income, BIPOC, and rural communities.
The new law also streamlines investment in EV infrastructure by Portland General Electric and Pacific Power through the collection of a small charge, with the requirement that at least half of the investment benefit low-income, rural, and BIPOC communities in their service territories.
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