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Advancing Utah's Energy Future

Bill: Remove barrier to electric car charging stations in Utah

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Brian Maffly – The Salt Lake Tribune

A proposed tweak in state law could go a long way toward making electric vehicles, which typically travel no more than 80 miles between charges, a more practical option for Utah drivers.

Under current law, Utahns who drive electric vehicles (EV) long distances away from home depend on the good will of employers and retailers who install charging equipment for them to use for free.

This is because the resale of electricity requires regulation as a public utility, so, not surprisingly, the private sector has done little to build a charging infrastructure.

HB19 would exempt businesses that provide vehicle battery charging from regulation as a public utility or electric corporation. With expansion of quick-charge facilities, EV owners like Justin Miller would experience less “range anxiety” and others would be encouraged to drive the efficient, low-emission vehicles, says the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek.

Miller, a deputy mayor for Salt Lake County, commutes from his Kaysville home, a distance of about 50 miles round trip. A few months ago he traded his gasoline-powered Nissan Altima for an all-electric Leaf, but he had to park his new car at the Nissan dealer for recharging while at work in Salt Lake City.

Despite that inconvenience, Miller said, driving such a vehicle cuts both his commuting costs and his contribution to the Wasatch Front’s smog.

“It was a moral issue for me. If we can take small steps, this is one way I can do it personally,” Miller said.

His small step saves him enough in fuel costs to cover his car payment. (…)

To read more, please visit The Salt Lake Tribune.