May 11, 2017
On May 1 the City Council approved, by a 9-0 vote, a resolution urging Mayor Koch to explore the acquisition of electric vehicles (EVs) for our city fleet. On behalf of Quincy Climate Action Network, I’d like to thank the councilors for their vote, and especially Councilors Joseph Finn, Noel DiBona, and Nina Liang, who cosponsored the resolution.
Buying or leasing EVs for the city would bring numerous health, environmental, and financial benefits. First, if the city began using EVs, it would help us meet our obligations under the Green Communities Act. In return for large state grants to fund efficiency projects, Quincy city government agreed some years ago to cut its energy use by 20 percent. Despite substantial progress, we have yet to meet this goal. Because gasoline use by city government has actually increased in the last year or two, vehicles seem like an obvious place to squeeze more efficiency out of city operations.
Second, getting EVs will more than pay for itself, given generous state and federal incentives and other savings. Thanks to the incentives, Weymouth leases EVs for $500 annually, according to media reports. New Bedford pays less than $1000. Meanwhile, EVs require very little maintenance and get the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon. Even if we junked our current fleet or left it to rust in a parking lot, we’d come out ahead by using EVs.
Thirdly, EVs will help reduce pollutants in the air breathed by Quincy residents. As in any urban area, our air is less than pristine, and dirty air contributes to a wide range of health problems, including asthma, cancer, and heart disease.
Finally, EVs by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will help slow climate change and thus sea level rise, which is already eating away at our coastline and flooding people’s houses, resulting in significant economic loss to Quincy families.
Getting EVs for the city fleet wouldn’t require a leap of faith. Many municipalities already use them in their city fleets, including our neighbors in Weymouth and Braintree. New Bedford has two dozen leased EVs in service, and they’re popular among city staffers, according to the energy manager there.
Electric vehicles, then, are an obvious choice for our city fleet, and QCAN joins the City Council in urging Mayor Koch to give them his most serious consideration.
Board Chair, Quincy Climate Action Network