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VW e-Golfs for a car-sharing program in Sacramento Photo: Bradley Berman, The New York Times
After admitting in 2016 to lying about excessive diesel emissions, Volkswagen (VW) agreed to pay $14.7b in penalties of which $2b will be invested by a VW subsidiary called Electrify America to boost electric vehicle use. Of that, $800m goes to California where the state is requiring nearly $300m be spent to help low-income and disadvantaged communities gain access to electric vehicles, according to The New York Times. As a result, Sacramento is a hub for numerous electric vehicle pilot programs and the only controversy is whether more areas of California should get to have similar pilots.
Starting this summer they will have three new all-electric, eight-seat shuttles providing passengers service along a major thoroughfare, cutting down on exhaust from a nearby highway usually choked by diesel pollution.
A low-income senior apartment complex now has two Kia Soul electric cars that are part of a free car-sharing program that began in May 2017.
It’s not just happening in California, however. A French company, Bolloré Group has installed electric cars for sharing across Indianapolis modeled on the AutoLib service in Paris. Called BlueIndy, the car-sharing service is convenient, affordable and good for the environment, and a missing link in Indy — a sprawling city with limited public transportation options. What makes BlueIndy more workable for some than other car sharing programs is that it allows one-way trips and its subscriptions start at $9.99/month. Users can pick up at one of the many stations located around the city and drop off at any other station, which allows for commuting and errand running uses
Why This Matters: This is a great use of the VW settlement dollars. EVs should be for everyone, not just those who can afford a Tesla. In California, where there are generous tax incentives for purchasing electric, most low-income residents still could not afford them. Car sharing programs are a great entry point for these vehicles to break through. Their affordability – no paying for gas – and their zero emissions, make these programs a great way for the industry to scale across the country, especially in suburban and rural areas where public transit options are sparse and a car is essential.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new UN report suggests that plastic pollution isn’t just a threat to marine life — it’s also an issue of environmental justice. The report, titled Neglected: Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution, highlights that poor nations and communities around the world disproportionately suffer the effects of plastic waste. This […]
President Biden’s new infrastructure plan contains something surprising — funding for “construction” projects to remove highways. Why? Because for decades, Black communities in cities across the U.S. have been cut off and/or divided by highways and major roads that were built without regard to their impact on those neighborhoods.
Why This Matters: Highways built in the 50s and 60s often came at the expense of communities of color. Their impact enforced segregation, disrupt thriving communities, and distanced Black people from city resources and job opportunities.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer European Union countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden have been sending millions of tons of trash to be burned in “waste to energy” incinerators. But because of the incinerators’ CO2 emissions and health impacts, the bloc is starting to cut off funding for new plants. This change “comes […]
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