Vermont Law and Graduate School’s (VLGS) Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE) and the Town of Hartford Energy Commission have teamed up to release the Buyer's Guide to Driving Electric in Vermont's Upper Valley, a comprehensive resource for anyone contemplating reducing their carbon footprint and transportation costs by purchasing an electric vehicle (EV).
The guide, available online at vermontlaw.edu/evguide and in printed form by request at the IEE, is designed to take some of the mystery out of EV shopping and let consumers know about current financial incentives that can reduce the purchase price or lease of an EV to the same as a comparable gas powered vehicle.
The guide includes:
- Information about federal, state, and utility financial incentives that can reduce the price of a new EV by up to $14,000;
- Examples of EVs in all car categories, ranging from sedans to SUVs to trucks;
- An EV glossary and list of acronyms;
- A shopping checklist and list of local EV dealers;
- Batteries, mileage range, charging, and maintenance basics; and,
- Where to find charging locations in the Upper Valley.
“Climate change is already making an impact in Vermont and action is urgently needed," said Jenny Carter, a VLGS staff attorney and associate professor. “Fortunately many area communities have committed themselves to reducing carbon emissions and we hope this guide will help them achieve those goals.”
According to the Vermont Department of Public Service, transportation is the single largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont and a large source of pollution-related problems. While walking, biking, ride-sharing and public transportation when possible is encouraged, the Upper Valley’s largely rural population make personal cars a necessity for many residents.
“Driving is a fact of life here in rural Vermont,” said Carter, “But switching to electric vehicles as quickly as possible can be a key component to combating climate change, while also saving residents’ hard-earned dollars. They are also fast and fun to drive.”
While many perceive EVs as unaffordable, financial incentives can make the purchase price quite comparable to an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, with lower long-term ownership costs. A 2020 Consumer Reports study showed a typical EV owner can expect to save between $800-$1,000 per year on fueling costs over an equivalent ICE vehicle. In addition, EV owners can save up to $4,600 on maintenance costs, given EVs do not require oil changes or new spark plugs and overall have fewer moving parts.
Molly Smith, chair of the Hartford Energy Commission, says that the adoption of EVs are crucial to achieving the town of Hartford and Hartford School District's goal of reducing GHG emissions by 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2025, and achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2030.
“With transportation being such a big piece of the carbon pollution pie, it will be nearly impossible to reach these carbon reduction goals without changing how and what we drive,” said Smith, who also serves as a program coordinator at IEE. “The hope is that this guide can answer some people’s questions or concerns about EVs and show how they can really be a big part of the solution.”
Funding for the IEE’s work was provided by the Green New Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation.