It’s only mid-December but we’ve already had a few inversions– and the dirty air they trap– this season.
Luckily this week’s winter storm has cleared out the inversion and the worst of the poor air, but it’s a reminder of why it’s all the more important to be mindful of how we can each reduce our contribution to the muck.
Because transportation accounts for 48% of the air pollution we see on any given wintertime inversion day, choosing cleaner ways to get around is one of the most impactful steps we as individuals can take
With that in mind, we’d like to share a couple of exciting options that are available right now to promote more sustainable travel.
Hive Pass Discounts
Salt Lake City residents can apply for the HIVE pass. The Salt Lake City program, in partnership with UTA, offers easier access to mass transit by reducing the cost of the monthly adult pass by 50%.
Pop-out doors, instant acceleration, electric bikes, autonomous electric ride-share programs. . . the future is exciting when it comes to electrified transportation.
And, in many cases, the future is here. So local governments better get ready!
That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to a new report SLCgreen recently co-produced with Utah Clean Energy.
The Electrified Transportation Roadmap describes 25 steps that local governments can take to accelerate the electric transportation revolution.
The Roadmap outlines how local governments can implement a variety of electric powered modes of transit including electric vehicles (EVs), e-bikes, electric transit, and electrified ridesharing.
Salt Lake City has integrated a number of these best practices into our internal operations, and we’re now working toward more community-scale projects as part of our Climate Positive SLC plan.
As the capital city’s sustainability department, we also believe it’s important to share what we’ve learned with other local governments.
That’s the idea behind the Roadmap—as well as a workshop we organized March 14 with representatives from 16 local governments across the Wasatch Front to talk about best practices and to view EV options from a variety of local dealers. Read more
Salt Lake City is committed to advancing clean air and one of the most significant ways we can do that is to support the growth of electric vehicles (EVs).
Compared to a new gasoline car, an EV puts out 99% fewer local air pollutants. That makes EVs a big player in our work to clear the air– particularly as our population grows and more vehicles enter our roadways each year.
The good news is that Utahns are buying more and more clean vehicles, but we have a long way to go– these vehicles currently make up less than 0.45% of the market. (This is one reason we don’t want to see high annual registration fees).
One of the ways the City is encouraging the continued growth in EV ownership is by building public charging infrastructure to alleviate “range anxiety.” We currently have 28 public charging ports around the city and are building a couple dozen more this year, including at the Airport!
We’re also excited to let you know that the City Council– on the recommendation of the Administration–voted to waive charging fees, effective immediately.
The $1.00 connection charge and $0.10/kWh fee was put in place last spring to recover the cost for using the station, and to ensure the stations are not being monopolized. We’ll continue to monitor usage and may re-institute the fee at an appropriate time.
But what’s this going to cost you might ask? We estimated an annual financial impact of up to $12,000 in utility costs associated with providing free electricity at existing stations. We also conservatively estimate it will cost $13,000 annually to cover electricity costs at the soon-to-be-unveiled EV stations at the airport.
Salt Lake City received a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality to install the latest round of charging stations– thank you! We’re now happy to continue supporting the expansion of clean vehicles and clean infrastructure in Salt Lake City with free charging.
Do you drive an electric vehicle? Are you on the fence about getting one? Let us know what you think!
CLICK HERE TO SEE STATION LOCATIONS
Do you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle? Do you breathe the air along the Wasatch Front?
If either of those are true, we encourage you to pay attention to the “Transportation Governance Amendments Bill (SB0136)” going through the state legislature.
It is rapidly making its way through the session and, as of February 13, will be heard by the full Senate in the coming days, followed by the House of Representatives.
Overall, we support the bill because of the many good things it would do for funding public transit and road improvements. You can read more via the Salt Lake Tribune.
However, the bill also proposes significant increases in the annual vehicle registration fees for all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, which are troubling.
We encourage you to learn about the bill and contact your elected officials if you’re concerned about the high fees proposed on electric vehicles– a stymie to clearing the air– even though the bill offers other positive changes.
For an all-electric vehicle, your annual registration fee would increase from $44 to $194.
For a hybrid, the fee would jump from $44 to $65. For all other vehicles, the fees remain at $44.
It is only electric vehicles that are being targeted for annual increases. Read more
We’re in the midst of a yucky inversion. At one point on Monday, the amount of particulate pollution crossed the 55.5 microgram/cubic meter threshold, which puts us in the red category of “Unhealthy” territory.
Unfortunately, our weather patterns and geography mean we have to work extra hard to reduce what goes into the air.
One of the simplest things you can do is to leave the car at home.
Did you know that the majority of pollution comes when you simply turn your car on?
It’s the phenomenon of “Cold Starts.”
It means that 60-90% of your commute’s emissions come in the first three minutes. Pretty incredible, huh?
You can learn more about cold starts from UCAIR’s great blog post and video below.
So what can you do? Well, aim to keep your car parked as frequently as possible — even if it’s just for a day, or a single trip you’re skipping
How to avoid the Cold Start: Read more
We’re getting into dirty air season. Our first big inversion is starting this week and is expected to last awhile.
What this means is that a high pressure system is setting up, trapping cold air on the valley floors– and with it all the pollution we collectively emit. Pollution doubles every day during inversions— and it can get yucky.
Salt Lake City is committed to reducing emissions and helping our community breathe easier.
But we need your help.
A significant source of pollution comes from our cars (roughly 50%), as well as our homes and buildings (roughly 35%). That means each of us can make a difference to our air quality.
This winter, the SLC Sustainability Department will be pushing out regular air quality tips and reminders.
Please join us! Follow along on social media and right here on our blog. We also encourage you to join our email list to have tips delivered right to your inbox.
Share, repost, and demonstrate your commitment to clearing the air.
The top three things you can do this winter are listed in the graphic above. Click here for more information.
- Drive Less— aim to increase your #CarFreeDays to have the most impact. Make use of the Hive Pass if you live in Salt Lake City.
- Be Idle Free
- Skip the wood burning
Are you waiting for the right time to buy a low-emission vehicle? Are you interested in helping clean the air and save money?
We’re excited to let you know that a new bulk purchase program for electric vehicles is BACK! (The last one, U Drive Electric, put 127 cleaner cars on the road in three months!)
ZOOm Go Electric is the newest discount program to launch. It runs from now through May 31, so get on it soon.
According to a 2013 analysis conducted by SWEEP and Utah Clean Energy “all electric” vehicles produce 99% lower emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 95% less sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 76% less nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions as compared to a new gasoline vehicle. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles reduces emissions significantly as well. Read more