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During National Electric Drive Week, Summit is recognized as a leader in zero-emission transportation goals
Contacts: Michael Wurzel, Sustainability Coordinator
SUMMIT COUNTY – As National Electric Drive Week kicked off in Colorado, the Summit County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution committing the community to 100 percent zero-emission vehicles in the community by 2050. A coalition of clean vehicle advocates applauded the County for its leadership in driving the state toward a cleaner transportation system.
In the board’s unanimous approval of the resolution, Summit County joins Boulder County, the City and County of Denver and the City of Boulder in making the commitment and being recognized as a GoEV Community. As the effects of climate change increasingly impact Colorado and other westerns states, GoEV communities are seeking to set an example in tackling the single largest source of climate change pollution in Colorado by accelerating the transition to zero-emissions vehicles.
“Summit County is excited to take this step during the Ninth Annual Drive Electric Week, because we want to double down on our fight against climate change,” Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “We have already made the commitment to 100 percent clean electricity, so it’s only a matter of common sense for us to fully embrace clean transportation as well. We know that EVs improve air quality, save money and drive economic growth, all while addressing carbon pollution and the climate crisis.”
The resolution pledges the County to draft an EV Readiness Plan with implementation strategies. Goals include plans to electrify the County fleet, public transportation, ride-share services and passenger vehicles in the community in the coming decades.
In April 2019, Summit County adopted the Summit Community Climate Action Plan (CAP), which identifies the transportation sector as responsible for 33 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Summit County. To reduce emissions from transportation in service of overall climate action goals, the CAP calls for a transition from petroleum-based fuels to electricity, in addition to increases in public transit use, walking and biking.
“In the County fleet, we will begin moving towards electrification with our light duty vehicles, pickup trucks and buses, eventually focusing on heavier equipment as those vehicles become available,” Summit County Public Works Director Tom Gosioroski said. “Fleet electrification will save taxpayer dollars over the vehicle lifetime. Electric vehicles require less maintenance, use less fuel and emit far lower levels of life-cycle air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Our first electric vehicle acquisitions are Summit Stage buses, which will begin regular duty within the next month.”
The City and County of Denver reports that it spends 29 cents per mile for each gas-powered vehicle in its fleet and only 8 cents per mile for each electric vehicle in the fleet.
In January 2018, the State of Colorado released the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan, which sets a goal of nearly 1 million EVs on the road by 2030. In 2019, Summit County received a Charge Ahead Colorado grant to install Level 2 charging stations at the Frisco Transit Center and the Summit County Commons. The stations will soon be operational. The chargers will be available for use by the public, County employees and fleet vehicles.
In May 2020, Xcel Energy announced its Transportation Electrification Plan, which calls for a $100 million investment in EV charging infrastructure, fleet advisory services, consumer EV education and EV rebates.
“With wildfires raging across the West and water shortages due to exceptional drought here in Colorado, it’s clear that we urgently need leadership in climate action,” Summit County Sustainability Coordinator Michael Wurzel said. “By making the commitment to 100 percent clean transportation, we’re saying that EVs have a home in Summit County, and we’re eager to plug in.”
Colorado’s first four GoEV Communities aim to lead the way on climate action and clean energy policy by facilitating the installation of EV charging stations in their communities and purchasing a combined 185 EVs for their city and county fleets.
“We should no longer accept that tailpipe pollution is required to travel around our communities. Cities and counties can lead Colorado to a clean cars future. We’re excited to see Summit County make a 100% zero emission vehicle commitment. These municipalities are pushing the state to take bolder steps and sending an important signal to automobile manufacturers and the marketplace that the future of travel in Colorado must be pollution free,” said Danny Katz, Director of CoPIRG, a public interest advocacy group and member of the GoEV City and County coalition.
Electric-powered vehicles are much cleaner than fossil fuel cars and trucks. With no tailpipe emissions, EVs reduce dangerous local air pollutants like smog that cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses, particularly in low-income and minority communities living near busy highways. EVs’ life-cycle emissions will go down each year as coal- and gas- fired power plants are replaced by carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar.
For more information about the GoEV campaign, visit goevcity.org. To view the Summit Community Climate Action Plan, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/climate.