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Air Quality

Nevada’s Clean Cars Program Will Be A Big Win For Nevadans

By Simon Mui

Nevada’s efforts to adopt a Clean Cars Nevada program will win big, according to an independent consultant report released today by Shulock Consulting. The report shows that the program will lead to a jackpot of savings to new vehicle owners, avoid millions of tons of climate pollution annually, and help improve public health through reductions in smog and toxic air contaminants.

The program has already garnered unprecedented support in Nevada with over 70 organizations representing business leaders, conservationists, science, public health, labor representatives, local governments, consumer groups, and nonprofits supporting the program and are part of the Nevada Clean Cars Coalition.

A triple-win for the state’s economy, public health, and the environment

The new report, commissioned by NRDC with expert input from members of the Nevada Clean Cars Coalition, analyzed the impacts of Nevada adopting a clean cars program. As summarized here, the study finds:

  • The program will save new vehicle purchasers an average of $1,250 over the life of their vehicle thanks primarily to fuel savings, even when accounting for the incremental technology costs. Owners of new light-trucks and SUVs will save even more at the pump given fuel expenditures are generally higher for drivers for larger vehicles.
  • Lower-income families as well as rural families will benefit even more. The study finds that these operating cost savings provide greater benefit to low-income households because they tend to spend a larger proportion of their income on fuel than do higher-income consumers. Similarly, rural drivers tend to higher operating costs due to the longer distances traveled. For the 85% of the new vehicle purchasers who finance, the savings will be from day one for most.
  • The program will also result in automakers increasing the availability of plug-in electric vehicle models in the state. In 2019, only 15 of the 43 electric models offered by automakers were available at Nevada dealerships in the Las Vegas region. Automakers are already planning to make more EV models available, and clean cars standards will help ensure that those vehicles are offered to Nevada customers.
  • All told, Nevada stands to save $125 to $800 million annually by 2040, with the range reflecting whether automakers meet or exceed the minimum requirements: more electric vehicles mean more savings. Those savings can be invested locally back into the economy instead of being sent out-of-state oil companies.
  • These savings from the program are in addition to the hundreds of millions annually that will be saved by Nevada utility customers, according to a recent report by MJ Bradley, particularly as more electric vehicles are charged when the grid is underutilized. Those grid cost-savings are spread to all utility customers.

Statewide savings from Shulock Consulting report. (dollars, in millions)

Improvements to public health and the environment

The report also concludes that in terms of public health and the environment, a Clean Cars Nevada program will:

  • Benefit public health by reducing hundreds to thousands of tons of smog-forming pollutants annually as well as fine particulate matter and other toxic air contaminants.
  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions that is driving climate change by as much as 11.8 million metric tons annually in 2050, or the equivalent amount of pollution released by three coal-fired plants annually.

Nevada should cash in on its winnings

The study provides strong evidence that clean car standards will be a triple-win, aiding Nevada’s economy, environment, and public health. Nevada only needs to cash in on its winnings and pass the strongest potential program.

Originally published on NRDC blog.


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Written By

NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists, and other professionals.


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