Guest written by Angelyn Tabalba, Nevada Conservation League Communications Manager
On Earth Day, we are reminded of our individual and collective responsibility to safeguard our planet so those after us can reap the same joys and benefits offered by our natural world. Today, we recommit ourselves to building on the progress made to create a cleaner, healthier environment by taking the next step forward to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions and electrify our transportation sector.
Currently, the transportation sector is the major contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change and air pollution. Cleaner transportation alternatives are particularly important for Southern Nevada, as a new report from the American Lung Association ranked Las Vegas, 12th for most polluted cities and graded in F for air quality.
Transportation as it is today and the harmful emissions they produce pose significant challenges if we are to meet goals on net-zero emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and the Nevada Climate Initiative in order to sustain a livable planet for the next few decades. Moving forward, we must consider ways that allow transportation to be central to the solution, not the problem.
Electric-powered vehicles produce low to zero-emissions, which is a plus to the planet and public health. By reducing emissions, we contribute less to a warming climate and improve air quality that will allow Nevadans to breathe better.
But the transition to electric vehicles brings benefits beyond public and environmental health – it also brings economic opportunity. Electric vehicles would save money for drivers because of the reduced costs for fuel and maintenance. Electric vehicle owners pay about $1 per gallon for their cars and the cost to recharge is 70% lower than gas cars. The new dependence on electricity means creating more local job opportunities in Nevada.
The future of transportation is electric, and many others agree. A poll conducted last October by Green Car Reports showed 74 percent of respondents agreed that electric cars are the future. Among EV drivers, the number rose to 79 percent.
This Earth Day, understand more about the benefits to electrifying transportation, which reach public health, environmental protection, economic recovery, and most importantly, a sustainable future for Nevada. And stay tuned for what this means for public transportation as the RTC will have some great announcements coming up!