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Coalition urges state to set ambitious target for 100% emission-free car sales by 2030

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Health and environmental groups are asking the Michigan Legislature to set a target of 100% emission-free new car sales by 2030.

Amy Rogghe is chair of the Michigan Electric Vehicle Alliance, one of the groups in the coalition. She says switching to EV-only sales will dramatically reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions — and cars and trucks account for about 60% of the total for the sector.

Rogghe said EVs are swiftly becoming more available and more affordable; it's estimated that manufacturers will have about 100 EV models for sale by the year 2025, many of which will be lower-priced entries.

"EVs save consumers money by costing less than half of what a gasoline car costs to fuel and maintain, and the price of electricity is vastly more steady compared to the price of gas, as we've all seen in the last six months," Rogghe said.

Kareem Scales is executive director of the the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP. He said the goal — and a plan to reach it — will help protect people's health.

Scales says that's especially true for Black and brown Michiganders, who often live in the state's most polluted neighborhoods.

"Although [car pollution] is better than 30 years ago, it's not clean enough — not for families living next to freeways, and for anyone who has to breath in dirty air caused by gas-powered cars," Scales said. "We're not asking to give up cars, we're just asking for cars to be emission free."

The group is not calling for a mandate, only a goal and a state plan to reach it. That's unlike California, which plans to ban sales of gas powered new cars by 2035.

Copyright 2022 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.