Policy Review: Alabama’s Push Toward Electric Vehicles

March 1, 2022, | Anushree Gade, LHC Intern

Electric Vehicles

As a state, Alabama has been making a more pronounced effort to adopt sustainability initiatives. This may result from people becoming more knowledgeable about climate change and how sustainability directly plays into it.

Electric vehicles have been receiving a lot of attention in the previous years. There are many more fully electric vehicles and hybrid cars on the road in the past year compared to five years ago. For example, we probably see numerous Teslas while driving around in Birmingham these days compared to how many we saw just two years ago. Why is this significant? It is important to note that transportation accounts for 70% of petroleum consumption in the United States. Hybrid vehicles consume less fuel than vehicles that are dependent entirely on gasoline. Electric vehicles rely solely on electricity as the source of energy. Electric and hybrid vehicles are better alternatives to conventional cars as it helps us decrease our fuel consumption and decrease our ecological footprint.  

In this case, California serves as a model state for other states across the United States. California provides incentives to its residents to encourage them to purchase hybrid or electric vehicles. The state has a Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) in which California residents who are buying hybrid or electric cars are given a rebate. This incentive encourages the residents to consider purchasing such vehicles to decrease the state’s contribution to air pollution and climate change. The state also provides grants to purchase electric buses to further their effort to increase the amount of zero-emission vehicles in the state. For more information on these incentives and other incentives for electric vehicles in California, visit this link.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs has been attempting to encourage the public to learn about electric vehicles and their benefits through a marketing program called “Drive Electric Alabama.” This program aims to include TV, radio, and digital advertising to increase Alabama residents’ exposure to information about electric vehicles. They have also created a website where the public can learn more. Click this link to access the website! Furthermore, Alabama has an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grant Program. This grant program provides funds to expand electric vehicle infrastructure. Alabama also offers grants to replace diesel vehicles with newer diesel vehicles or alternative fuel vehicles. Vehicles eligible for this include medium- and heavy-duty trucks, school buses, shuttle, transit buses, freight switchers, airport, and ground cargo handling equipment. The state has also been making an effort to increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations across the state. Lack of access to charging stations can serve as a con for those considering switching to electric cars. Increasing charging stations can further encourage residents to make the switch. 

Despite the push towards electric vehicles being a success in California, such vehicles are relatively new and in the works for most states. Alabama has been making this transition, though it may take more time and effort to do this more effectively. 

Furthermore, several different solar initiatives are in place for the residents of Alabama to encourage them to consider installing photovoltaic systems (solar panels) for the production of renewable energy. These initiatives include, but are not limited to: 

  • Tax Credit: If you install solar panels, your tax credit is 26% of the cost of the entire solar panel system.
  • Property Tax Abatement: the Alabama Tax Code provides property tax abatement for qualifying facilities that use renewable energy. 
  • Net Energy Metering helps people save some money on their electricity bills when they send electricity produced from their solar panels back to the grid.