Across the U.S., and especially in Arizona where cars are a huge part of what makes our economy work, the need for reliable and affordable transportation is ever-present. As world conflicts continue to drive up the prices of gasoline, now is the right time to consider how to save money when fueling our cars.
Electric vehicles are a big part of the answer — and a little secret between you and me, they’re just better.
Thanks to the leadership of Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly in passing the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act, the benefits of electric transportation will soon be more accessible by Arizonans. The IIJA provides $5 billion in funding for states to build electric vehicle charging stations on highway corridors. The funding that would be obligated for Arizona just this fiscal year is $11,320,762, pending an approved plan for these funds submitted by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The benefits for communities across Arizona are big ones. Consider:
- Electric vehicles save drivers money since electricity is cheaper than gasoline
- Fewer vehicles that run on gasoline will mean less demand for oil
- Electric vehicles don’t pollute the air with smog, which causes painful and expensive health problems
- Polluting less will help us slow down climate change
The program to build electric vehicle charging stations over the next five years is the needed spark for infrastructure investment that will increase economic efficiency and job growth for years to come, just as the creation of the interstate highway system did in the 1950s.
EV companies in Arizona offer high-paying jobs
Obviously, the easier it gets to charge an electric vehicle, the more people will want to buy them. This is good for Arizona for another reason – three different manufacturing companies are building electric vehicles in Arizona. The Lucid Motors factory in Casa Grande can produce tens of thousands of cars each year and the company recently announced that it provides more than 2,000 jobs in Arizona. Nikola Corp. is building a factory in Coolidge, and ElectraMeccanica has operations in Mesa. Auto manufacturers tend to buy parts from other companies nearby to their factories, which means that Arizona has begun to develop a new high-tech manufacturing cluster. These are jobs that pay well and provide benefits.
The new charging infrastructure on highways and the growing EV sector in Arizona are a good start. However, really making EVs accessible enough to all Arizonans will require purchase incentives and charging infrastructure that’s not just on our highway corridors, but in our communities, recreational areas, and everywhere else we travel in the state.
Congress has the opportunity now to pass a jobs and climate bill that will make it easier for Americans to afford new and used electric vehicles with tax credits from $4,000 to $12,500 as long as they are made in America. The extreme weather events that have challenged our country over the past few years have shown us that we cannot wait any longer to address climate change. The American spirit of innovation tells us that if we address climate change in a smart way, we can improve our economy and our quality of life at the same time.
More good jobs. Cleaner air. Cheaper energy. Continued investment in electric vehicles will bring these benefits to Arizona and the nation. The Grand Canyon State stands poised to lead the way.