DOT approves plans for 50 states

A man charges his car at a Tesla Super Charging Station in Arlington, Virginia on August 13, 2021.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday it had approved plans for electric vehicle charging stations for all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico covering about 75,000 miles of highways.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration allocated $5 billion to states to fund electric vehicle chargers over five years along interstate highways as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package. Under the plan, called the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, states have provided their proposals for electric vehicle infrastructure deployment to the Joint Energy and Transportation Office.

States are now allowed to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors on the national highway system and have access to more than $1.5 billion to help build the chargers.

It’s unclear how many charging stations the funds will support, and states have yet to share specific charger locations. Department of Transportation officials said states should install stations every 50 miles and ensure each station is within one mile of an interstate highway.

“We have approved plans for all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to help ensure that Americans in all parts of the country – from the largest cities to the most rural communities – can be positioned to unlock economies and the benefits of electric vehicles,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

The White House has invested approximately $135 billion in the development and creation of electric vehicles and aims to build a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2030. The tax credits included in the the recently adopted reduction in inflation will encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles.

Despite an increase in electric vehicle sales in recent years, the transportation sector is the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The lack of convenient charging stations is one of the main obstacles to the expansion of electric vehicles across the country. The United States is the world’s third largest market for electric vehicles behind China and Europe.

The administration has touted electric vehicles as more affordable for Americans than gas-powered cars and has set a goal of 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030, which will help its broader commitment to reduce halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The administration has also pledged to replace its federal fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks with electricity by 2035.

California, the nation’s most populous state and the center of American automotive culture, in August banned the sale of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035. The state will likely face challenges meeting that deadline, such as installing enough charging stations and providing access to the materials needed to manufacture the batteries.

“With this green light, the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico can accelerate their work to build EV charging networks that will make driving an EV more convenient and affordable for their residents and serve as the backbone of our national EV charging network,” Stephanie Pollack, acting federal highway administrator, said in a statement.

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