June 24, 2019 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Sierra Club, Green Energy Consumers Alliance and Acadia Center released the following statement today after Massachusetts officials announced plans to end a popular rebate for drivers who purchase electric vehicles. The MOR-EV program gives consumers up to $1,500 for switching to electric vehicles. Officials, citing insufficient funding, plan to cancel it in September.
“Ending this rebate while the program is gaining such momentum is a huge lost opportunity,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Director of CLF’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program and a member of the Massachusetts Zero Emission Vehicle Commission. “Gas-burning cars accelerate our climate crisis and pollute our neighborhoods, and the rebate program helps families make the switch to clean electric vehicles. Eliminating the program without providing alternatives takes away needed resources and threatens to set us back in reaching our climate goals.”
The cancellation of the rebate was announced at a meeting of the Zero Emission Commission today. The Commission ended the meeting by voting to recognize that MOR-EV is critical to the adoption of zero emission vehicles in the Commonwealth and encouraging the Governor and Legislature to find additional funds, in light of existing constraints on resources.
Transportation emissions are the largest source of climate-damaging pollution in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth’s Commission on the Future of Transportation has set bold goals to transition to a zero-emission transportation system. There is currently legislation pending that moves us toward those goals, including making this rebate permanent. The bills would also mandate that large fleets of vehicles transition to zero emission by 2035, with all vehicles registered in Massachusetts reaching that goal by 2038.
“Now is the time to take bold action to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and make them accessible to everyone, not gut crucial programs like the MOR-EV rebate program,” said Gina-Coplon Newfield, director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign and a member of the Massachusetts Zero Emission Vehicle Commission. “We are in the midst of a climate crisis and transportation is the biggest source of emissions both across the nation and right here in Massachusetts. Supporting financial incentives for people to be able to go electric must be treated as a priority. The state needs to find a way to allocate sustained funding for this important program so that it is not in question.”
Eugenia Gibbons, Policy Director at Green Energy Consumers Alliance notes, “MOR-EV has been a key driver of EV adoption in Massachusetts, making news of this brief extension before elimination, bittersweet. We supported previous program modifications that helped to extend this important incentive, including limiting eligibility to vehicles with a sales price of less than $50,000. However, 11th-hour solutions have never been capable of sustaining this vital, incredibly popular program. A better strategy for funding this and other DOER-administered programs exists. We welcome collaboration with the Baker administration to develop such an approach and to do so without cannibalizing energy efficiency and other mitigation resources.”
“Massachusetts must take bold steps forward to address transportation pollution; ending the MOR-EV rebate program would be a step backward,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director at Acadia Center. “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has provided necessary funding for the MOR-EV rebate program, and we applaud the Baker administration for advancing a similar policy to help spur future investments in clean transportation. In the meantime, however, new funding must be identified to sustain the MOR-EV program.”
Experts are available for further comment.