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News / Life / Clark County Life

Energy Adviser: Electric vehicle incentives get in gear

By Clark Public Utilities
Published: June 22, 2024, 6:10am

Electric vehicles are continuing a half-decade trend of nearly 50 percent year-over-year growth in Clark County, as many drivers wave goodbye to the gas pump and hello to fuel and maintenance costs savings. A new Washington instant rebate set to roll out in August may be the extra push some drivers need to get off the fence and go electric.

As of May, 11,005 EVs were registered in Clark County, the fourth-highest count in the state, by county.

“During some months last year, we saw more than 10 new EVs registered per day in the county,” said Matt Babbitts, Clean Energy Program Manager at Clark Public Utilities. “With the new Washington state EV incentive program beginning later this summer, we are anticipating even higher adoption rates to close out 2024.”

Clark Public Utilities’ diverse power supply and robust local grid make EVs growing popularity easy to accommodate. As a nonprofit, at-cost energy provider, the utility doesn’t profit from the growth of EVs in its service territory. Providing information and resources for customers who want EVs is part of the utility’s mission to deliver outstanding customer service.

The utility offers a wide range of incentives to residential customers across income levels and commercial customers may qualify for a range of EV programs offered by Clark Public Utilities; many can be combined with other state and federal incentives. Visit clarkpublicutilities.com/ev to learn more.

A new state rebate is just a few weeks away. In August, the Washington State Department of Commerce will launch the EV Instant Rebate Program, offering up to $9,000 to lease or up to $5,000 to buy a new EV. It’s aimed at state residents with household incomes at 300 percent or below the federal poverty level in household income, equivalent to $93,600 a year for a family of four. While funding is available, rebates will be applied instantly at the point of purchase or lease from a dealership. More information is available at commerce.wa.gov.

Until recently, many drivers couldn’t justify the higher prices of an EV, but the market is changing. Cox Automotive found new EVs are now only about 11 percent more than gas-powered cars, compared with two years ago when they were more than 20 percent higher. iSeeCars recently reported used EVs have dropped below those of gas cars.

While the initial purchase price may be higher, drivers quickly enjoy lower fuel and maintenance costs.

One kilowatt-hour will power an EV for 3 miles, costing about $0.03 per mile when charged with electricity from Clark Public Utilities. The typical EV owner consumes about 3,300 kilowatt hours annually. If they charge at home, that is about $24 per month in fuel costs.

See how much you can save by switching with the Electric Vehicle calculator on the utility’s website at myaccount.clarkpublicutilities.com/evCalculator. The results may surprise you.

EVs running off Clark Public Utilities electricity also reduce the owner’s personal transportation emissions by nearly 90 percent. The average gasoline vehicle produces about 11,435 pounds of CO2 emissions annually; an EV powered by Clark Public Utilities electricity produces about 1,260 pounds.

The gradual rate of EV adoption in Clark County is not only easy for the utility to handle, but the new class of consumers also offers an interesting opportunity to develop new tools and programs to benefit all of its customers.

“As more customers adopt EVs the utility will be investigating new programs to incentivize customers to charge their vehicles during low demand times,” Babbitts said. “Doing so will help the utility manage power supply costs while incentivizing customers to play a direct role in our clean energy future.”

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to ecod@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98688.