New electric vehicle toolkit for California’s local governments shows how to act locally on cleaning up transportation

Media Contacts
Ben Grundy

Former Conservation Campaign Associate, Environment California

As international leaders set global climate goals at COP26, toolkit offers solutions for California’s cities and counties to act on back home

Environment California Research and Policy Center

Sacramento, CA — As leaders from across the globe meet at the United Nations’ COP26 conference on climate change this week, Environment California Research & Policy Center, CalPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group are releasing a new report that shows how local governments in California can pave the way for cleaner transportation through tools and policies that support the growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). With transportation being the number one source of global warming emissions in the United States and in California, transitioning to EVs must be a key part of any plan to reduce climate pollution and this toolkit offers a roadmap to reaching that goal. 

“Even though more electric vehicles than ever are on the road, cities and counties need to step up their drive to get more Californians to come along for the ride ,” said Ben Grundy, the Global Warming Associate with Environment California Research & Policy Center. “By taking the steps detailed in the toolkit, local governments across the Golden State can energize their communities to make the switch to clean, electric vehicles.”

The toolkit highlights 20 tools and policies that leading cities have adopted to make it easier to buy and own an EV, including: 

  • Municipal purchasing of EVs

  • Expansion of EV charging infrastructure

  • Electric buses and bikes

  • EV-friendly building codes and zoning requirements

  • Incentives to purchase EVs

  • EV advocacy and resolutions 

Cities in California are already working to speed up the transition to EVs. As detailed in the report, Sacramento has 51 city-owned chargers solely for its city fleet and provides a map of all the chargers in the city. Furthermore, EV owners in Sacramento are eligible for special monthly parking rates in designated parking facilities at 50% of the cost., incentivizing Californians to responsibly transition to ZEVs. These commitments at the local level also help California reach its statewide global warming reduction target of having at least five million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2030 as directed in the Executive Order (E.O.) B-48-18).

The report also highlights 10 other cities in California for their policies that support a transition to EVs.

The toolkit can also help prepare local government officials for federal investment in electric vehicles. If Congress passes the bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Act, it will invest $7.5 billion in grant money that local officials can apply for to expand EV charging stations in their communities. The complementary Build Back Better framework would create new funding opportunities for electric vehicle purchasing incentives. To make the most of those investments, local governments will need to play a role in educating the public and in swiftly permitting new charging stations and infrastructure.

“Pollution from cars, trucks and buses makes us sick, hurting our lungs, hearts and overall health,” said Sander Kushen, an advocate with the CalPIRG Education Fund. “To clean the air in our communities, we have to take local action. Local leaders should prioritize electric vehicles to protect our health.”

If enough cities take action, these local vehicle electrification tools can have national climate ramifications in reducing U.S. transportation emissions. Municipal policies across the country, from building codes in Boise, Idaho, to charging station partnerships in Mobile, Alabama, have shown the importance of government action in advancing EV adoption. More cities, towns and counties in California should look to the initiatives detailed in the report as a guide for promoting EVs in their communities. 




Environment California Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.

CalPIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful interests that threaten our health, safety and wellbeing.

Frontier Group is a nonpartisan research and policy development center, providing information and ideas to help build a cleaner, healthier and more democratic America.