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USA: Commission reviews merits of electric vehicles

SALT LAKE CITY ­— As the car glides down the road, you might think its engine isn’t running. It’s almost soundless.

“It’s like an iPad compared to a desktop computer,” said Cheryl Loveless, mother of four and electric vehicle owner.

The Utah Public Service Commission met at the state Capitol on Wednesday to discuss options for increasing the use of alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric cars, to address Utah’s poor air quality.

Loveless said being a zero-emission family almost every day is effortless after installing home solar panels to take care of their electrical needs and leasing an electric vehicle.

Mike Salisbury, transportation program analyst with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said the electricity mix in Utah is becoming cleaner with fewer emissions as more natural gas and wind power come into play. He said electric vehicles will also help.

“Electrical vehicles have potential to completely remove three very harmful pollutants from the Wasatch Front area and significantly reduce the other emissions, specifically particular matter,” Salisbury said.

Under SB275, passed during the 2013 Legislature, the Utah Public Service Commission must “initiate and conduct proceedings to explore options and opportunities for advancing and promoting measures designed to result in cleaner air in the state.”

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project made two major policy recommendations Wednesday, proposing to boost the tax credit for electric vehicles and allowing the resale of electricity for vehicle charging.

Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, is drafting a bill to boost the tax credit for electric vehicles. Snow said he wants to bring the credit for electric vehicles in line with compressed natural gas vehicles.


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