Ige signs bills for electric transportation

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    In this image taken from video, Gov. David Ige signs bills last week regarding the electrification of vehicles, witnessed by various members of the state House and state Senate, at Central Middle School in Honolulu.

HONOLULU — Ground transportation accounts for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Last week, Gov. David Ige signed three bills that accelerate the electrification of transportation at Central Middle School, to complement ongoing efforts to reduce emissions from ground transportation.

State Rep. Nadine Nakamura, who represents Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapa‘a and Wailua, said to address climate change the state must transition from fossil fuel to electric-powered vehicles.

“I’m excited about these bills because the government must lead by example,” Nakamura said.

House Bill 552 calls for the replacement of all light-duty motor vehicles at state agencies with a zero-emission fleet by Dec. 31, 2035.

HB424 requires all agencies of the state, when renting a vehicle on behalf of a state employee conducting official business, to adopt a preference for renting electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles, provided that such vehicles are suited for the specific travel requirements and available when needed.

HB1142 allocates three cents of the barrel tax to fund the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. It establishes a subaccount in the state Public Utilities Commission special fund for the EV-charging-system-rebate program.

“With the signing of these bills, the governor is demonstrating the state’s commitment to decarbonizing its fleets, leading the way for the private sector to do the same,” said state Rep. Nicole Lowen, chair of the House Committee on Energy &Environmental Protection.

“And this will also save the state money as the cost to own and operate EVs” goes down, she said. “I’m very grateful for the governor’s support of these bills, which took the work of many hands for many years to bring to fruition.”

State Department of Transportation Deputy Director of the Highways Division Ed Sniffen said the department supports the efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels in ground transportation.

“At a time when atmospheric carbon-dioxide measurements at Mauna Loa are at a historical high and when we anticipate global warming and one-meter sea-level rise by 2100, we need to do better,” Sniffen said.

Sniffen said the signed bills “reinforce the state’s ambitious clean-energy goals.”

“We appreciate his (Ige’s) leadership and the foresight of the state Legislature in supporting clean transportation,” Sniffen said. “HDOT’s goal is to convert or eliminate the internal-combustion engines within our light-duty fleet within seven years.”

State Rep. Tina Wildberger, who represents Kihei, Wailea and Makena on Maui, was the primary introducer of HB424.

“I am thrilled to see HB424 make it through the entire legislative process this year,” said Wildberger, vice chair of the House Governmental Reform Committee.

“Everything we can do to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions should be everyone’s goal,” she said. “This measure will help encourage the rental-car companies to invest in electric vehicles and know there is (the) market share that will rent them. State employees rent a lot of vehicles on state business. This will help us pivot to an electrified transportation system in Hawai‘i,” she said.

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Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

8 Comments
  1. randy kansas June 29, 2021 2:24 am Reply

    hahaha, this will do nothing for pollution….china is burning coal at a record rate…india could care less…do these people thing that global gas, just hovers over one country….there is no such thing as green energy….all forms of energy used for human consumption creates pollution…. just moving the dirt around for the most part…


  2. Donald Barry Stillman June 29, 2021 6:07 am Reply

    Interesting article


  3. alien June 29, 2021 8:05 am Reply

    Guy makes everyone wear a mask except himself, I guess he thinks he is special. The leaders of our Islands, country and world are gross.


  4. Teresa Wild June 29, 2021 8:15 am Reply

    Can anyone tell me how Kauai generates its power? I heard a lot of homes are run on solar, but that a large percentage of the power is generated with oil generators at Ele’ele. Not sure if this has changed since I read that. It takes a lot of electricity to keep a vehicle charged, and the emission footprint of electric vehicles gets a lot bigger if you take that into account. People on hydroelectric systems are in a way better position, ecologically speaking, for charging up their cars at night when grid traffic is low, but it is still very “power greedy”. I am curious whether there are plans in place for charging vehicles with “green energy” on Kauai, and, if so, how will the increased demand be met? . I am skeptical, after hearing about all the hidden costs of manufacturing and running electric vehicles, that it can be done “sustainably”. Many green energy proponents assume that the taxpayer will subsidize their ideas, ignoring the costs of electricity and the actual costs to generate it.


  5. Doug June 29, 2021 9:58 am Reply

    Big Deal. If the government was really serious about the environment, they would address rental cars. But then we can’t inconvenience visitors, can we?


  6. RGLadder37 June 29, 2021 1:20 pm Reply

    Not going to happen. Reduction of cars. Too lame. The public is not buying into the notion of less gas emission and less cars.


  7. RG DeSoto June 29, 2021 3:30 pm Reply

    This is just another feel-good plan by politicians with absolutely zero grasp of economics. All this so-called electrification does is export the “greenhouses gasses” to power plants that still must use petroleum fuel. Utter nonsense.
    RG DeSoto


  8. George Ho June 30, 2021 4:24 am Reply

    Other than solar or wind, power isn’t free. Either the power plants will generate the electricity or the vehicle will. I don’t believe a study was done yet proving that vehicles relying on power plants to generate electricity to charge the batteries is more environmentally positive. And let’s not overlook that the batteries only last 3 to 4 years. This is a more significant impact.


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