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This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including polling about people’s willingness to talk about climate change, new polling on the East Palestine disaster, and a new industry-funded poll in New York State about the state’s Climate Act and residential gas.
After 6 months since the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) passage, 46,400 new jobs in electric vehicle (EV) production have been announced. This is in addition to the 48,000 new jobs announced between passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) (November 2021) and the Inflation Reduction Act (August 2022). From 2015 through November 2021, just 48,600 jobs had been announced. Therefore, two-thirds of all EV jobs announced since 2015 have come since passage of BIL and IRA. State leaders in total EV jobs announced include Georgia (19,400), Tennessee (18, 300), and Michigan (16,300). EV manufacturing capacity has increased 10x from 2021 to 2022 and is projected to increase 8x more from 2022 to 2026. Battery manufacturing capacity in the U.S. is also projected to skyrocket.
The EV Jobs Hub (EVJH) illuminates not only where new electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing jobs are being announced, but also what those jobs will look like. The EVJH can help labor and environmental advocates hold manufacturers and policymakers accountable for delivering on their investments and promises for good, union jobs in the domestic EV industry. This hub shows the EV jobs announcements—where they are in the US (via a map) and aspects of them, including: manufacturing focus, disadvantaged communities, state and local subsidy, existing union, and congressional district.
High cost and charging logistics are the biggest concerns holding non-EV owners back from buying or leasing a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle (EV). Three in five Americans cite high-purchase cost (59%) and difficult logistics (58%) as the reason for not considering an electric vehicle in the next two years. The next tier of worries include maintenance cost (36%) and vehicle performance in very hot or cold weather (33%). Few non-EV owners (18%) have no concerns about purchasing or leasing an electric-only or plug-in hybrid vehicle in the next two years. Two in five non-EV owners would be encouraged to buy or lease an electric vehicle if they had access to free public charging stations (41%) or fast public charging stations (39%). Many would also be nudged to consider these vehicles if they could charge their vehicle at home (37%). Following these charging concerns, government subsidies (36%) and access to workplace charging (18%) may promote EV ownership among those who don’t own these vehicles. Still, 42% of non-EV owners feel that none of the listed incentives would encourage them to consider a plug-in hybrid or electric-only vehicle.
Across all racial demographics, overall interest in purchasing EVs is high. Americans of color show at least as great a level of interest in purchasing an electric vehicle as white consumers: 33% of white, 38% of Black, 43% of Latino, and 52% of Asian Americans say they would “definitely” or “seriously consider” purchasing or leasing an EV as their next vehicle. For those individuals who identified charging as an issue limiting adoption, availability of publicly accessible charging remains a greater concern than convenience or long charging times. In terms of perceived cost barriers, more Black and Latino individuals identify maintenance and repair costs as a consideration holding them back from purchasing or leasing an EV (54% of Black and 48% of Hispanic respondents, compared with 37% of white respondents), while more white and Asian Americans for whom cost is an issue identify purchase price as the primary concern. Increasing affordable, accessible, reliable public EV charging infrastructure situated in safe locations would address all of the groups’ biggest concerns about EV charging.
Poll: Mass. residents concerned about climate change, but more worried about health care, education & jobs
Massachusetts residents are concerned about the impacts of climate change, with majorities saying that climate impacts like heat waves, coastal flooding and more powerful storms are already or very likely to hit the state in the next five years. However fewer than half of residents (47%) list climate change as a high priority -- it trails behind worries about health care, jobs and the economy, education, taxes, and fuel costs. The new survey suggests concern over climate change has declined since a similar poll in 2019 in which 54% of residents called climate change a high priority for state government.
Majorities of MA residents support climate and energy policies including:
- Update the states' building codes to require buildings to be better protected against climate change (76%)
- Require new or renvoated buildings to be ready to charge electric vehicles (70%)
- Require new or renovated buildings to be fully electric, using no oil or natural gas (57%)
Additional analysis and data visualizations in this article from WBUR.
For Americans who would consider purchasing an electric vehicle, high gas prices are now nearly as common of a rationale as environmental reasons. 31% of adults say they would consider purchasing an electric vehicle if they were in the market for a car today, compared to 30% who said they would consider an electric vehicle when asked the same question last April. Notably, when the poll asked interested consumers why they would consider a hybrid or electric vehicle, high gas prices (63%) only narrowly trail environmental cleanliness (66%) as a rationale for those interested in buying hybrids or EVs. These factors were cited far more often than the next most common rationales, including the fact that car companies are shifting to making more hybrids and electric vehicles (44%) and the increase in models and options to choose from now (42%).
Few have heard about the Biden administration’s decision to allow higher-ethanol gasoline blends, but voters learn toward supporting the decision as a way to reduce gas prices. The latest national tracking poll from POLITICO and Morning Consult finds that just 15% of voters have heard “a lot” about the U.S. government allowing summertime sales of higher-ethanol gasoline blends in order to reduce gas prices. When informed about the decision with the following explainer, however, voters support the move by a 42%-28% margin (with 26% unable to give an opinion): “As you may know, President Biden announced that the government would allow summertime sales of higher-ethanol gasoline blends in order to reduce gas prices. While this could lower gas prices, some say that higher-ethanol gasoline blends can contribute to smog in warmer weather. Do you support or oppose allowing summertime sales of higher-ethanol gasoline blends?”
Most Americans say they “support a ban on Russian oil” even if it means higher gas prices. 71% claim that they would “support a ban on Russian oil, if it meant higher gasoline prices in the United States.” The ban has strong majority support across the political spectrum with 82% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 66% of Republicans in favor of it.
World Resource Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative aims to build unstoppable momentum toward an equitable transition of the entire U.S. school bus fleet to electric by 2030, bringing health, climate and economic benefits to children and families across the country and normalizing electric mobility for an entire generation. Together with partners, WRI is working in six areas of focus, whereby they: support school districts in accelerating the equitable transition to electric school buses; collaborate with manufacturers across the electric school bus supply chain in preparing for an equitable and sustainable transition; work with electric utilities to improve interconnection and investments for electric school bus charging infrastructure, including supportive rates and tariffs; facilitate understanding of electric school bus business models and promote the expansion of funding and finance options in the electric school bus market; engage policymakers at the federal, state and municipal levels to reduce barriers to equitable school bus electrification; center communities in pursuing school bus electrification and work with community-focused organizations to help provide the tools and resources to make it happen.