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Planning to buy an electric car for your commute? Well, if Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) gets his way, you could soon get a bigger rebate from the state.
A.B. 1046 was passed yesterday by the Senate Transportation Committee by a 9-4 vote. Its next stop will be the Senate Appropriations Committee. Ting, who sponsored the legislation, writes that "...the state must do more to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals... The proposal gears up efforts to get more zero-emission vehicles on our roads and do so at a faster pace than ever before."
To point out the screamingly obvious, not only does a bike produce zero emissions, but it doesn't take up nearly as much space, contribute as much tire pollution, waste nearly as much energy from manufacturing, or release nearly as much pollution from paint, plastics, or raw materials.
"A true 'zero emissions' mandate for California is not subsidizing five million new toxic electric cars. It's building bicycle cities," wrote Jason Henderson, advocate, writer, professor, and occasional Streetsblog contributor, in a post on social media about the legislation. He also linked to a piece by the BBC that points out that “the move to electric vehicles is most definitely not a panacea and fails to address wider concerns about public health and the kind of places where we want to live... Congestion is a costly blight in many urban areas and there is a real risk that we will end up swapping dirty, polluting traffic jams for clean, green ones."
Furthermore, California generates about a third of its electricity from renewables. The state is pushing for 100 percent renewable energy production, but it's not clear how it will get there. Therefore incentives to encourage people to drive electric cars, as opposed to riding transit, walking, or biking, could end up increasing smoke-stack emission.
"Electric-assist bicycles are introducing thousands of people to the benefits of biking for everyday transportation," wrote Janice Li, Advocacy Director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "While prices for e-bikes have come down in recent years, their cost is still out of reach for too many individuals and families." She added that her organization will help advocate for rebates for e-bikes.
Still, it all seems a bit unfair to those of us who have for many years racked up expenses in bike repairs and maintenance but can't deduct a dime of it, let alone apply for a rebate. Tell us what you think below.