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Report: IL Would See $43B in Benefits from Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles reduce utility bills, vehicle expenses, and our reliance on fuel. (nrdc.org)
Electric vehicles reduce utility bills, vehicle expenses, and our reliance on fuel. (nrdc.org)
October 17, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois has had years of financial problems and many who live in the state have felt the pinch through higher taxes and reduced services, but a recent report says if the state embraced electric vehicles it could bring up to $43 billion in cumulative benefits by 2050.

The savings would come through reduced utility bills, reduced reliance on fuel, lower vehicle expenses and less carbon pollution, according to an analysis by MJ Bradley and Associates.

Noah Garcia, the transportation policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council says Illinois' economy and the power grid would benefit. He says the state had a lot of momentum when it comes to becoming more electric-vehicle friendly, but that's not the case lately.

"The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency offered fleet rebates for up to $4,000 dollars per vehicle," he says. "There was also $10 million set aside in funding to award charging stations and EV manufacturing grants and loans, but that initiative was also suspended in 2016."

The release of the report coincided with the kickoff of the state's "NextGrid," an 18-month consumer-focused study that's underway to address issues facing Illinois' electric utility industry in the coming decade.

Garcia says accelerating the use of electric vehicles in Illinois would reduce pollution, protecting the air, land and Great Lakes, and the cheaper price of electricity also would help homeowners. He says the utility companies can play a big role by putting rate designs into place.

"Essentially move electric vehicle charging around so that it happens at a time where the grid isn't stressed when all our other gadgets aren't turned on when we're coming home from work," he explains. "And that can actually provide some pretty impressive benefits to all Illinois utility customers."

The report was commission by Charge Up Midwest, a partnership of environmental and clean-energy organizations working to increase electric vehicle deployment throughout Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL