Arkansas groups push for more electric vehicle awareness
Several energy and environmental groups collaborated on Saturday at an event geared toward educating Arkansans about electric vehicles.
Audubon Delta hosted “Drive Electric for Earth Day” outside the Little Rock Zoo. Owners of electric vehicles stayed on-site to answer questions and display the features of their cars.
Glen Hooks, Audubon Delta Arkansas policy manager, said in an interview the event was needed to allow people to interact with the vehicles.
“Electric vehicles are the wave of the future and the present right now. Most of the large auto manufacturers in the world have decided and already announced that they plan to phase out gasoline vehicles and go 100% electric over the next several years,” said Hooks.
He said he hopes this will remove the stigma that electric vehicles are too expensive.
“You’ve got a lot of models that are under $30,000,” Hooks said. “There’s a $7,500 federal tax rebate right now that you can apply for.”
Drivers also save money on fuel and other services, like oil changes, when they transition to electric vehicles, according to Hooks. He said comparatively, the cost of charging an electric vehicle converted to fuel prices would be $1.24 a gallon.
Beyond economic benefits, Hooks said he believes the environmental benefits are vital to the nation's future.
“Right now, the number one source of greenhouse gases in the U.S. is transportation,” said Hooks, “The emissions from our vehicles, our trucks and our cars all across the country. You know, cleaning up our transportation system is probably the biggest thing we can do right now to lessen the impacts of climate change and really move us towards a cleaner energy future.”
He also commended Gov. Asa Hutchinson for the creation of the Arkansas Council on Future Mobility in February. Not only will the council work to improve transportation in the state, but also remove barriers to progress already existing in the state.
“Right here in Arkansas, we have a couple of regulations that are problematic for the electric vehicle industry. We have one of the highest electric vehicle registration fees in the nation. It’s an extra $200 a year, that needs to come down,” said Hooks.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. dedicated electric charging stations in the parking lot of the zoo, which are free to use, by plugging a charger into the vehicle of Little Rock resident Ann Owen.
“I am not satisfied with where we are,” said Scott as he told the crowd at the event he plans to continue pushing the city’s public transportation towards electric vehicles.
Owen is the former president of the Friends of KLRE/KUAR Board of Directors.