Los Angeles announced on Thursday that it plans to construct electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and offer larger incentives for the purchase of EVs. The move came in response to a new report indicating that low-income individuals are being left behind in the shift towards clean energy.
City officials have increased Los Angeles’s maximum EV rebate to $4,000. The previous figure was $2,500. The rebate can only be used to acquire used EVs.
The local government will also establish a network of fast chargers in underserved neighborhoods where private companies have been slow to build such infrastructure.
The EV rebate will be available to customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). LADWP is the largest municipal utility in the United States.
The new report, entitled the LA100 Equity Strategies Report, was published on Thursday. It was drafted by LADWP, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
The transition to cleaner energy sources is presenting challenges. This is particularly true for individuals with lower incomes who cannot afford the upfront costs of purchasing new vehicles, solar panels, heat pumps, and other eco-friendly devices. LADWP estimates that it will cost Los Angeles $87 billion to transition to a 100% renewable power grid.
In addition, low-income communities often bear the brunt of the negative impacts of fossil fuel usage due to their proximity to power plants and busy roads. Wealthier neighborhoods are usually far from polluted areas.
California stands as a frontrunner in adopting clean energy. According to The New York Times, the state boasts the highest number of rooftop solar panel systems and electric school buses in the United States.
However, the LA100 Equity Strategies Report revealed that affluent residents in Los Angeles disproportionately benefit from clean energy rebates. They also receive the most compensation for excess energy generated by rooftop solar systems.
Underserved communities received only 23 percent of the $5.4 million allocated to EV rebates between 2013 and 2021.
Moreover, the California Public Utilities Commission is currently attempting to block renters from receiving financial compensation for rooftop solar generation. Two-thirds of California’s low-income households are renters.