Clean & Prosperous Washington

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Transportation Electrification & Congestion Relief

Data Viz: Commute Modes

The following data visualization shows for all 50 U.S. states from 2007 through 2011 what percent of daily trips to work occur via different modes of transportation. Such so-called “mode split” data by state is augmented by data for transit usage within major metro regions via the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. However as noted above transit environmental benefits can depend on percent of seats filled. The “2012 National Transit Summaries and Trends” report from the National Transit Database (p. 23) notes that for all 824 reporting transit systems in the United States in 2012, bus routes had a combined load factor of just 11.2 percent compared to 25.2 percent for light rail, 27.5 for “heavy rail” transit and 35 percent for commuter rail.

Bills to Advance Electric Vehicles Make Good Economic and Environmental Sense

A charged debate is underway in the Washington State legislature over whether or not to extend the sales tax exemptions for electric and alternative fuel vehicles. If no action is taken this session, the exemption will expire in July of this year. The cost to the state for EV sales tax breaks varies greatly depending on the make and model of the car, whether one buys or leases, and if the buyer has a trade-in. Because most EV drivers are leasing, the sales tax is based on the monthly payment and not the MSRP. The means the opportunity cost of tax exemptions is less than one might think. And yet the benefits to the economy and environment are significant.

By the Numbers: Reducing Carbon Emissions in Washington State

Where do Washington’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from? What are we doing to reduce GHG? Washington legislated GHG reduction targets for 2020, 2035, and 2050. The latest Ecology numbers are available from Ecology’s GHG emisisons inventory and for 2011 via the Climate Emissions Reduction Taskforce (CERT) website and materials. Perhaps more interesting, when considering Washington’s targets, are the projected emissions for 2035, compiled by the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup’s technical consultant, Leidos.

Many Challenges Ahead For Electric Vehicles

Washington’s Electric Vehicle (EV) statistics look great on a national level. The percentage of new vehicle registrations that are EVs is higher in Washington than in any other state and the number of public charging stations and outlets makes Washington fourth in the country. Yet Washington’s high rankings in some ways speak more to the general absence of EV infrastructure nationwide. EVs make up only 1.6% of new registrations in Washington, and the infrastructure consists of a mere 1,700 stations and outlets primarily concentrated in the Seattle area. Addressing this lack of infrastructure as well as the limitations of EVs is critical for making them a practical option for the average Washingtonian.