States swoon to push electric cars onto the road

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If the free market can’t sell them, maybe the government can — and that’s the direction eight states are taking in what’s becoming a public-versus-private sector battle to bring electric cars onto the roads.

Consumers haven’t been snapping up electric cars like politicians and environmentalists want, so eight states that tout about a quarter of the U.S. industry for car sales have stepped in and partnered with manufacturers to get aggressive on the alternate-fueled vehicle market, CNN reported. It’s an effort that’s driven by federal mandates.

The federal government, led by the Obama administration’s push for cleaner energy development, has set mandates and levels for alternately-powered vehicle sales. Automakers aren’t meeting those demands, however — largely because consumers aren’t buying. And consumers aren’t buying because of cost and because of glitches in the process: Where does an electric vehicle go for charge on the road?

So the states are tackling that angle, partnering to develop standards — likely in the form of regulations — for charging stations. They’re also going to expand on financial incentives — likely in the form of taxpayer subsidies – to make the cars a bit more affordable for the buyer, CNN reported.

The goal: To get 3.3 million more of electric-powered and hydrogen-fueled vehicles on the roads by 2025. California alone is promising to take a 1.5 million chunk of that target, vowing to put that many zero-emission vehicles on the highways and byways in the coming 12 years, CNN said.

Environmentalists are cheering. Auto groups say it’s a good step forward. And manufacturers are happy with the “shared responsibility” that states are taking, Global Automakers said, in CNN. Politicians, too, are simultaneously sharing in the back-pats and promoting pet personal agendas.

The program will help bring down “the emissions that are causing our climate to change and unleashing the extreme weather that we are experiencing with increased frequency,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in CNN.

The states that have partnered include California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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