Harlem Councilperson Levine And Others Propose New Incentive To Drive Electric

May 10, 2017

To incentivize New Yorkers to drive fully electric vehicles, City Council Members Mark Levine and Costa Constantinides have introduced a bill that would allow the owners of such cars to park at Muni-Meters for free on Saturdays.

As New York City seeks to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gasses 80% by 2050, this new legislation is designed to increase the number of New Yorkers using fully electric vehicles (EVs) by creating an additional benefit for owners. The New York Metro Area currently ranks third nationally in terms of the number of EVs in operation, lagging only behind Los Angeles and the Bay Area. However, between 2011 and 2015 only 2,230 EVs have been registered in New York City, showing substantial room for growth in a City with over 1.4 million cars.

Though there are currently numerous benefits for those seeking to drive electric vehicles including federal and state tax rebates, access to HOV lanes regardless of vehicle occupants, and discounts for City and state tolls, research shows that increasing EV adoption rates relies on creating incentives. Norway for example, which leads the world in EV adoption, offers up to $18,000 in incentives to purchase one.

The proposed law has the potential to add a significant financial incentive for New York drivers. For a driver in Manhattan, where the majority of the City’s public charging stations are available, this benefit could save an EV driver up to over $2,184 in parking costs annually. The average EV driver from the outer boroughs could save up to $624 annually.

Anticipating the program’s success in growing the number of EVs in New York City, the proposed law will expire after a period of three years.

Creating new incentives for people to buy electric cars is imperative if we’re going to slash New York City’s carbon footprint 80% by 2050.

Council Member Mark Levine said, “Creating new incentives for people to buy electric cars is imperative if we’re going to slash New York City’s carbon footprint 80% by 2050. This benefit has the potential to yield meaningful savings for those who drive electric cars–up to $2,184 annually–at minimal cost to the City, which took in over $545 million in parking fines last year alone. We’ve already made incredible strides towards encouraging New Yorkers to drive electric vehicles, but we need to keep doing more. New York should be leading the charge when it comes to electric vehicle use, and I am proud to work with my colleague, Council Member Constantinides, to make this benefit a reality.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “Over 20% of New York City’s energy usage – or around 9.1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – comes from our transportation sector.If we are going to reach our city’s goal of reducing greenhouses gases 80% by 2050, we must ensure that we’re looking at innovative solutions to reduce fossil fuel usage. That’s why I’m proud to support this bill to exempt electric vehicles from Muni-Meter requirements on Saturdays, as it promotes sustainability without interfering in the total number of available parking spaces. I want to thank Council Member Levine for all the hard work he’s done on this issue.”

“If we are to meet our ambitious goals for getting 700,000 zero emissions vehicles on the road in New York State by 2025 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, we need a diverse array of incentives that encourage consumers to make the switch. We are pleased to see Council Member Levine and Council Member Constantinides proposing such a financial benefit in the form of free parking to boost electric vehicle adoption,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.

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