The 2021 hurricane season is not yet over and already we have been reminded of the costs of inaction on climate change. This year, South Florida experienced record-breaking heat while wildfires, chronic flooding and more intense hurricanes wrought untold damage around the country. As we look ahead, Florida’s cities will need many tools in its toolbox to safeguard our communities and economy from climate change.
While electric vehicles alone are not the answer to climate change, they do provide a way to lower costs of operating municipal fleets and expediting storm recovery while reducing air pollution that threatens public health. The good news is that Americans are on board, a national poll demonstrates that nearly two-thirds of voters, including 56% of Independents and 50% of Republicans, support U.S. automakers transitioning to zero-emission vehicles. According to the Environmental Defense Fund by 2030, consumers investing in electric vehicles will save more than $7,200 per car, compared to a traditional gasoline-powered automobile, a critical cost savings for families.
If you watched any major televised sporting events this year, from the NCAA Final Four to the Super Bowl, you saw ad after ad showcasing American auto companies’ new electric cars. This is proof that electric vehicles are ready for a mainstream market — you don’t pay Will Ferrell and LeBron James to promote your car just to niche buyers.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has invested in and Miami-Dade County public schools have already begun to transition outdated pollution belching diesel buses to EV. This smart policy has strong support 62% of Floridians support providing grants to school districts to purchase zero-emission school buses while strong majorities support expanding tax incentives and point of sale vouchers for zero-emission cars and trucks, increasing investment in domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles, batteries and component parts as well as developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure acceding to a Mason-Dixon poll.
As the Vice Mayor of West Miami, I’m committed to working with state and federal leaders like DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio to lead on developing charging infrastructure and creating policies that help cities convert fleets, save money and preserve Florida’s extraordinary but fragile ecosystems — for future generations.
Eric Diaz-Padron is Vice-Mayor of West Miami.