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California advances electric vehicle legislation

A bill proposes a regular review of the infrastructure necessary to support zero-emission vehicle goals in the state.

By Daniel J. Graeber
California advances electric vehicle legislation
A bill headed to the desk of California Gov. Brown calls for a regular review of the infrastructure needed to support zero-emission vehicles. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A bill that requires a regular review of California's electric vehicle infrastructure is a step toward a clean-energy economy, a trade group said.

By a unanimous vote, California lawmakers approved Assembly Bill 2127, as amended, that calls for a biannual update on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The bill mandates the review to gauge progress on a state-wide effort to put at least 5 million zero-emissions vehicles on California roads by 2030.

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The bill now head to California Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.

California Assemblyman Phil Ting worked with national business group Advanced Energy Economy to craft the bill.

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"This is an important step for California as it blazes the trail toward an electric transportation future," Amisha Rai, a senior California policy director for the AEE, said in an emailed statement.

The bill's passage comes as California takes on U.S. President Donald Trump over fuel economy standards. In early August, the state's attorney general said California would use every legal tool at its disposal to block Trump's efforts to weaken the standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a 37 mile per gallon average for cars and light-duty trucks by 2026. That's far less stringent than a mandate enacted under former President Barack Obama for 54.5 mpg by 2025. Under the new proposal, the EPA also confirmed plans to strip California of its authority to set its own fuel economy levels for vehicles, citing a 50-state solution in the proposal.

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California's governor shamed the Trump administration for targeting efforts to control vehicle emissions he said were first introduced by then California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Using the power of the state office, Brown said he'd fight Trump's "stupidity" in every way possible.

California has one of the greener economies in the United States. It's on pace to get 33 percent of its power from renewable energy resources by 2020. The transportation sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported battery-powered vehicle sales have accelerated the most for alternative vehicles, but accounted for less than 1 percent of total vehicle sales last year. Plug-in hybrids, meanwhile, saw their market share increase from 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent between 2012-17, while sales in non-plug-in hybrids declined from 3 percent to 1.9 percent.

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