The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has awarded $700,000 in grants and low-interest loans to expand electric and natural gas vehicle use across the state.
Glade Sowards is an environment scientist with the DEQ. He says at about every level of reduction in federal standards, there’s about an 80 percent reduction in vehicle emissions.
“We kind of need to be looking ahead to that next stage. How can we improve upon these very clean vehicles that we have coming out now and in the near future?," Sowards asks. "And electric vehicles are a great way to do that.”
Sowards says historically the funding has been going to compressed natural gas fleet cars and trucks. He says electric vehicle technology is finally improving and there is a lot more consumer interest.
“And with that comes the opportunity to just sort of expand the program and reach into the electric charging stations,” says Sowards.
Sowards says Salt Lake City will use a $200,000 grant to add 25 EV charging stations which will increase by 50 percent the number for the entire state. He says the city also received $197,000 to purchase more clean fuel vehicles, including compressed natural gas-powered, and add 3 new charging ports for its fleet. Other grant and loan recipients include the U of U, SLCC, UVU, SUU, and Weber State.