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Arizona taxpayers could save if governments switch to electric vehicles: Report

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(The Center Square) – A new report indicates that electric vehicles could pave a more affordable path forward for governments throughout Arizona.

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and Frontier Group said that $26 million in taxpayer dollars could be saved at the state level if governments swapped out “light-duty fleets” when it comes time to “retire older vehicles” over the next decade, which they estimate is roughly 20,000 vehicles across the board. However, that savings increases exponentially to $283 million if every level of government in Arizona opted to make the switch when it comes time to replace vehicles, according to the report.

“Buying, fueling and maintaining gas- and diesel-fueled fleet vehicles is a big expense for governments – especially when gas prices are high,” the fund’s executive director Diane E. Brown said. “Shifting to electric vehicles can save money for taxpayers by significantly reducing fuel and maintenance costs, while also improving air quality.”

The report comes as Arizona is facing higher gas prices compared to most of the nation, as the average price per gallon at $3.86 as of July 2, with many drivers in Maricopa County paying in the ballpark of $4, according to AAA. Supply issues have been hurting Phoenix and other parts of the state, which state Republicans said in a press release in June resulted from Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs failing to get a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency despite requests from energy company HF Sinclair.

In the report, 74% of the savings stem from being less reliant upon fuel.

Although the transition to electric vehicles on the independent consumer level has been a topic of controversy, the Frontier Group’s Associate Director Tony Dutzik said that governments need to be leading the charge.

“Electric vehicles are no longer some distant dream. They are here today and ready to save taxpayers money and help clear our air,” Dutzik said. “Every year, new models and types of EVs come on the market that can do more of the jobs state and local governments require. The time for governments to plan a transition to electric vehicles is now.”

On the private sector side, Arizona has also established itself as a mecca for electric car manufacturing, as Lucid Motors, ElectraMeccanica, Atlis Motor Vehicles and others have a significant business presence in the state.

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