EVs have the potential to address critical public health and environmental challenges in our state. They are far less polluting than gasoline-powered cars, with half the carbon footprint over their lifetime, as well as fewer emissions of the pollutants that contribute to smog and particulate matter.
In order to keep up with growing consumer demand and help to meet the state’s goal of having 300,000 EVs on the road by 2025, we need to significantly invest in charging infrastructure. We should incentive electric vehicle ownership and build a competitive charging marketplace.
Electric utilities have a particularly important role to play when it comes to managing the impact of EVs on our electrical grid, and we are glad to see Maryland utilities’ quick out of the gates on this front. However, if the utility companies want to get into the business of vehicle charging, having ratepayers bear the risk with no guarantee they will share in the benefits may result in padding their profits at customers' expense.
In addition, charging ratepayers 25 cents to 42 cents more a month to support the charging stations also gives the utilities an unfair advantage and may stifle innovation, undermining what should be a competitive EV marketplace.
Maryland PIRG believes the state, utilities and private companies should supercharge efforts to transition to electric vehicles, but let’s be smart and thoughtful on how we move forward.
Emily Scarr, Baltimore
The writer is director of the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.