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September 2019 UCAIR Partner Meeting

At our September 2019 UCAIR partners meeting, we had a presentation from Shawn Teigen, Vice President and Research Director for Utah Foundation, about the exciting research they have been doing regarding alternative fuel vehicles in Utah. UCAIR is proud to support this research and Utah Foundation with a 2018-2019 UCAIR Grant.

Driving Towards a Cleaner Future: Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Utah – Shawn Teigen, Vice President & Research Director, Utah Foundation

The Utah Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization, whose mission is to produce objective, thorough and well-reasoned research and analysis that promotes the effective use of public resources, a thriving economy, a well-prepared workforce and a high quality of life for Utahns. Utah Foundation seeks to help decision-makers and citizens understand and address complex issues.

In November 2018, Utah Foundation received UCAIR Grant to conduct the research to produce a comprehensive report titled, Driving Towards a Cleaner Future: Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Utah. The goal was to look for practical ways to make Utah a national leader in encouraging alternative fuel vehicle use. In creating this report, Utah Foundation researchers examined state-level tax incentives nationwide and chose some of these state-level level incentives with the highest usage rates as case studies. Additionally, they reviewed past and current incentives in Utah and identified ways in which Utah may be discouraging alternative fuel vehicle use.

One of the drawbacks listed by consumers of owning an alternative fuel vehicle, in particular, an electric vehicle, is a low availability of charging stations. However, this is quickly becoming a non-issue. In 2016 the number of charging stations was roughly 300; in 2018, that number increased to over 500. Another issue cited as a barrier to use is cost. On average plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles cost about $12,000 more than similar gasoline-powered models. In surveys, 57% of respondents they would purchase an alternative fuel vehicle if the price was the same as a traditional vehicle.

One way to help bridge this gap is financial incentives, like a tax credit. An online survey of 2,882 electric vehicle owners in 11 states between 2011 and 2014 determined that 30% of sales are attributed directly to an incentive. In Utah, a $1,500 tax rebate for the purchase of an energy-efficient vehicle was available until 2018. It is still unclear how this will impact EV or hybrid sales in our state.

This blog is about a very small part of an in-depth presentation on this report. Utah Foundation’s full report will be available later this year. We encourage individuals interested in alternative fuel vehicles to read the full report.


Following the presentation, partners shared what projects and initiatives they are currently working on. These included:

Christina Brown, Chevron – Chevron is using their sponsorship of the Utah Royals soccer team to talk about air quality and highlight their partnership with UCAIR. During the October 12 game, Thom will talk to the audience about air quality, and they will show the UCAIR Idle Free video.

Royal DeLegge, Salt Lake County Health Department – Utah Climate Week is September 29 – October 5. Climate Week is a participant-led initiative where organizations host events for internal employees and stakeholders or full public participation. Movie screenings, panel discussions, communications campaigns, or other efforts that highlight climate change risks and opportunities are encouraged.

Thom Carter, UCAIR – Many of our partners have upcoming events, and we encourage you to support them if you can.

NEXT MEETING: October 11, 2019, 9:00-11:00 AM