Winter is coming. And along with it, inversion season. As temperature and pressure changes trap pollutants in the Salt Lake Valley, it is an important time to recommit to reducing our impact.
Air pollution in general is extremely costly in terms of public health and our economy. In the U.S., we spend $131 billion in air quality-related damages each year. The costs to our well-being are enormous. Bad air is linked to asthma, pneumonia, pregnancy loss, and premature death.
Luckily, expansions to our public transportation infrastructure are making it even easier to leave your car at home and help clear the air.
Public Transit Expansions
One way to avoid driving is to make use of public transit.
The bus route expansions are among several enhancements made possible through the Funding our Futures income (comprised of a sales tax increase, passed by the City Council, and a bond, approved by Salt Lake City voters, in 2018.)
Are you skeptical about electric vehicles? If so, you’re not alone! Many people have questions and worries about driving an electric vehicle. We’ve busted some of the most common myths to ease your mind and encourage you to consider becoming an electric citizen.
Myth #1: I will run out of power and get stranded without a charge.
This is called “range anxiety” and is a common concern. Research shows that on average, drivers in the U.S. travel about 31 miles per day. Any EV on the market can handle well above that on a single charge. Generally speaking, the range of EVs spans 80-230+ miles.
The average EV battery range is projected to reach 300 miles as soon as 2023. The bigger the battery, the more energy it can store and the further you can go without refueling. Additionally, EV drivers do more than 80% of their charging at home! For those that have long commutes or otherwise drive long distances frequently, a hybrid can eliminate range anxiety, and is cleaner than a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle. Public and workplace charging are also available to help you fuel up as needed.
Air quality, air quality, air quality…will we ever stop talking about it? Until our air is consistently clean and no longer putting our health and economy at risk, probably not.
Talking about air pollution is important to us here at
SLCgreen, not only because of how harmful it is to our health but also because
of how expensive it is.
Let’s face it: bad air is damaging our economy. And not just in Utah. Air pollution in the U.S. costs the nation at least $131 billion in damages annually, including higher healthcare costs. Globally, the cost of pollution-related death, sickness, and welfare is $4.6 trillion per year, which is about 6.2% of the global economy.
Let’s talk about why that is and what can be done about it.
We talk a lot about electric vehicles at SLCgreen (seriously – check it out).
That’s because they’re one of the critical pieces of transitioning our community to a lower carbon footprint (and they’re pretty fun to drive too).
Therefore, over the last several years, SLCgreen has developed policies to promote electric vehicle adoption in the community at large and in our government fleet.
But this support is not without substantive research and justification.
While EVs are a key part of the puzzle, they’re not a panacea to climate change or our air quality problems. Other forms of transportation (biking, walking, riding the bus or train) and good urban planning are just as important.
Today, however, we are taking a deep dive on a common question regarding electric vehicles– just how clean are they?
Salt Lake City recently unveiled the latest electric vehicle (EV) public charging infrastructure.
These stations increase the total number of City-owned public EV charging ports to 38 plus 16 at the Airport, and complement an even more robust charging network available throughout the city.
The newest Level 2 EV charging ports opened last month at three separate Salt Lake City locations: Mountain Dell Golf Course, the Regional Athletic Complex, and on-street parking on 500 South, just south of The Leonardo.
“Electrifying transportation is one of the most meaningful ways we can tackle air quality problems in the Salt Lake Valley,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The City applauds the many residents and businesses investing in electric vehicles and is pleased to offer charging opportunities for these clean air champions.”
Funding for the project was provided in part by a grant from the Utah Division of Air Quality, building off the initial installation of 28 ports in 2017.
by Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern, and Tyler Poulson
Salt Lake City Sustainability recently helped host a workshop at the Utah Division of Air Quality to educate a diverse range of local government leaders on electric vehicle charger site selection, installation, and management.
Attendees at the electric vehicle charging infrastructure workshop | Sept 20, 2018
In partnership with Leaders for Clean Air, Rocky Mountain Power, Utah Clean Cities, and the Utah Division of Air Quality, we engaged dozens of representatives from local governments, plus staff from higher-education institutions, companies, and non-profits on how to build a robust charging network while leveraging local incentives.
Fortunately, broader trends suggest a move to electrified transportation. Electric vehicles are expected to make up 55% of global new car salesin just a couple decades and by planning ahead and installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) we can make that transition as smooth as possible. Read more
The Salt Lake City Compliance Division has a colorful, new addition to their Parking Enforcement fleet. Four all-electric Chevrolet Bolts have replaced old JEEP Wranglers to deliver financial savings and notable pollution reductions.
Salt Lake City’s new all-electric Chevy Bolts help the City reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and meet our Climate Positive goals.
“It’s important that we lead by example and demonstrate how electric vehicles offer a reliable, safe and efficient alternative to gas-powered cars,” stated Greg Fieseler, Compliance Division Field Supervisor. “The electric cars are fun to drive too!”
Greg acknowledged there was initially some skepticism among staff that the new EVs would prove viable as fleet vehicles. That skepticism has been replaced by enthusiasm as the electric cars are now “the preferred choice” for most employees.
Compliance has been able to seamlessly integrate these vehicles without any modifications to routes or other significant operational changes. Even with 90 degree-plus heat throughout July and the A/C running for most of the day, the 200-plus mile range of the Bolts has allowed officers to complete their daily routes with energy to spare.Read more