West Virginia stands to gain as the national market share of electric vehicles (EVs) expands. Increased EV adoption is poised to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, boost public health, and generate large economic benefits. Opportunities exist to further expand accessibility to and the affordability of EVs within the state.
"West Virginia is ideally positioned to lead the nation in transitioning to the electrification of the transportation network, battery research and development, and environmentally sustainable vehicles."
- West Virginia Secretary of Economic Development Mitch Carmichael
The EV industry is expected to create more than two million jobs in the United States in the coming decades, depending on government investment in the sector.
“EV owners can save an average of $2,100 in maintenance costs over the life of an EV compared with a similar gasoline car (AAA 2017)”
On average, rural West Virginia drivers saved $1,106 in 2018 by switching from gasoline to electricity
In January 2022, gas prices in West Virginia averaged $3.205, and a kilowatt-hour of electricity cost $0.137. In West Virginia, it costs 2 to 3 times more to drive a gas-powered vehicle per mile than it costs to drive an EV.
In 2019, 10,078 West Virginians worked in the clean energy sector. Median hourly wages for clean energy jobs also are about 25% higher than the national median wage.
Emerging research from the Energy Institute at WVU indicates that turning acid mine drainage into a critical minerals extraction resource could lead to an increased demand for skilled workers in the state.
According to Ziemkiewicz, mines in northern and southern West Virginia produce more than 800 tons of rare earth elements each year, which could be easily ramped up to 1,000 tons per year – valued at $245 million annually
Policies designed to secure the U.S. critical mineral and refining capacity could create over 28,000 direct jobs, in addition to the other 647,000 jobs that the entire EV industry will create.
In West Virginia alone, EV adoption could save $326 million in health costs, along with 28 avoided premature deaths, 304 fewer asthma attacks, and 1,362 avoided work loss days in 2050.
Transportation is the largest source of GHG emissions in the U.S. and is the only sector in which emissions continue to increase. Diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles emit pollutants like PMP and NOx from their tailpipes, which is particularly harmful to frontline communities living along highway corridors and in urban centers.
An overwhelming amount of research has found that EVs release less GHG emissions over the lifetime of the vehicle – regardless of how their electricity was sourced from the grid.
The nation’s grid system is only getting cleaner and will continue to lower the lifecycle emissions of EVs compared to gas-powered vehicles, which have a static, fossil fuel-based carbon footprint.
A gas powered vehicle in West Virginia emits 11,435 lbs of CO2, while a battery electric vehicle powered by West Virginia’s electricity grid emits 8,945 lbs of CO2 - 21.77% less
This gap will widen as West Virginia moves away from fossil fuel electricity production. Today, 93% of electricity is powered by coal or natural gas.
Private utility providers like Appalachian Power offer customers a $500 rebate for qualified EV charging equipment and installation.
Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, West Virginia would expect to receive about $46 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state (6). West Virginia will also have the opportunity to apply for grants out of the $2.5 billion available for EV charging.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low and No Emission Bus Programs ($5.6B, expanded) BIL expands this competitive program which provides funding to state and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low emission transit buses
Charging and fueling infrastructure discretionary grants (Up to $2.5B, new) – This discretionary grant program will provide up to $2.5 billion in funding to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop.
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The transportation sector emits the most carbon pollution in the U.S. EVs produce no tailpipe emissions and are 67% less carbon intensive than gasoline-powered cars over their lifetime. A full transition to EVs would eliminate tailpipe pollutants like NOx, fine particulate matter, and carbon dioxide from our vehicle transportation system.
Electric vehicles support over 300,000 American jobs, with new EV manufacturing poised to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the years to come. The rest of the world is moving aggressively to seize this generational opportunity. The U.S. must lead this race to create a new manufacturing and jobs sector worth billions.
By going electric, EV owners can save over $700 a year in fuel and an additional $330 in annual maintenance costs. Meanwhile, the retail price of EVs continues to decline as manufacturing scales up. Federal, state and local incentives have the ability to drive greater consumer benefits and EV adoption.
Ease of Ownership
In addition to no longer needing to pay for gas, EVs only include a handful of moving parts versus the hundreds in a traditional gasoline vehicle and thus require far less service and maintenance. With no oil, coolant, transmission fluid or belts to change, it’s no wonder that 96% of EV owners say they’ll never go back to a gas-powered car.
Low-income and frontline communities already faced a disproportionate health burden from mobile source emissions prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We now know that exposure to air pollution has worsened COVID impacts in these communities. Full electrification will reduce respiratory illness and save lives.
The Driving Experience
Thanks to the instant torque of an electric motor, EVs also have incredible performance. They can also be safer to drive because of a low center of gravity, and with no traditional engine they have a front crumple zone that protects passengers in head-on collisions.
We are a first-of-its-kind coalition committed to cleaner transportation.
National policies to support 100% electric vehicle sales.
The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) is a federal coalition focused on advocating for 100% EV sales by 2030. Enacting policies that drive EV adoption will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, secure American global EV manufacturing dominance, drastically improve public health, and significantly reduce carbon pollution.