Jackie Toledo: Florida gears up to address climate change

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Florida is moving the ball down the field on electric vehicles—and not a moment too soon.

There’s an old joke from the early days of the auto industry. An automobile passenger says to his driver, “Can’t you go any faster than this?”

“Sure,” says the driver, “but I have to stay with the car.”

The joke is still bad, but cars have come a long way over the last one hundred years. Today, electric vehicles promise to improve our air quality and help address climate change.

Each year, that dream gets closer to becoming a reality — and in 2021, we’re closer than ever before. That’s why I am sponsoring electric vehicle (EV) legislation to help Floridians capitalize on the economic benefits of a rapidly changing EV marketplace. My bill, HB 817 will help drivers take advantage of decreasing prices and the growing number of EV models available to consumers.

Florida is currently #2 in electric vehicle sales in the U.S. but lags in supporting infrastructure. HB 817 would expand electric vehicle infrastructure in Florida and incorporate emerging technologies into the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) mission while creating a grant program to help increase electric vehicle charging stations across Florida. Sen, Jeff Brandes is carrying the Senate companion bill.

To use a football analogy, Florida is moving the ball down the field on electric vehicles — and not a moment too soon.

Recent studies by the Environmental Defense Fund demonstrate the opportunity clean cars present to public health and jobs in Florida. Perhaps most importantly, EDF notes that by 2030, consumers investing in electric vehicles will save more than $7,200 per car, compared to a traditional gasoline-powered automobile.

In addition, electric vehicle technology will reduce annual climate pollution by 600 metric tons by 2040. Such reductions will prevent as many as 5,000 premature deaths every year — with 98,000 lives saved by 2050. That amounts to more than $100 billion in net societal benefits per year and $1.6 trillion in cumulative net benefits to Americans by 2050.

Electric vehicles alone are not the answer to climate change, but they are an important tool in the state’s toolbox that can help with hurricane evacuation and recovery, reducing pollution and benefit private sector leaders like Anheuser Busch who are converting delivery fleets. With citizens feeling the impact of climate change in their pocketbooks, both Republicans and Democrats recognize the need for a multifaceted strategy to deal with it.

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Jackie Toledo represents House District 60, which covers Town ‘n Country, South Tampa, and parts of coastal south Hillsborough County to Ruskin.

Guest Author


2 comments

  • Greg Harrison

    April 11, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Until Florida face over encouraging dredging and filling (be it silt production from beach restoration killing) or allowing the Everglades to continue to be a never ending AGRICULTURE honeycomb, with all its environmental destructive practices, being mirrored by landscaping and ignoring sewage issues, the disasters will mount!!

  • kbschoen

    April 11, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Where does electricity come from?Drive down cheap clean fossil fuel taxes and you get taxes in other areas. Is CO2 necessary? Only if you want to eat. Control the food, control the people.

Comments are closed.


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