Uber Giving Phoenix Passengers 40 Percent Discount To Use Electric Cars, Not Gas

Uber Giving Phoenix Passengers 40 Percent Discount To Use Electric Cars, Not Gas

By Corinne Murdock |

Uber will give passengers a 40 percent discount for using electric or hybrid cars rather than gas cars.

The discount announced earlier this month is available for passengers traveling to and from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, which established a “Green Curb” for the initiative. Electric or hybrid cars will be marked as “Uber Green” or, for the more expensive ride types, “Uber Comfort Electric.” The discount applies to the latter.

In a press release, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego praised the airport as a leader in sustainability. Gallego further expressed gratitude that Uber had chosen the city to lead on their initiative.

“Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a leader in sustainability, and this new partnership is another example of how our airport remains on the cutting edge of every aspect of the passenger experience,” said Gallego. “I’m proud that Uber has chosen to bring this first-of-its kind initiative to Phoenix, and I look forward to supporting this innovative partnership!”

Joining Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in establishing a “Green Curb” is the Portland International Airport in Oregon, the London Heathrow Airport in England, and the Madrid Barajas International Airport in Spain. 

However, other airport locations won’t offer as steep of discounts as the one given in Phoenix. At London Heathrow Airport, the discount only amounts to 10 percent. 

This latest initiative by Uber is part of the corporation’s plan to achieve zero emissions by 2040, and to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste from deliveries by 2030. In addition to the discounted fare for electric travel, Uber will inform riders of their emissions usage, establish a carsharing network, expanding rentable bikes, establishing electric car charge accessibility, and advising UberEats customers of green packaging options.

Sustainability may also be taking the form of driverless cars: last month, Uber announced that it had teamed up with artificial intelligence ridership service Waymo. The initiative will begin in Phoenix, where driverless cars and freight transport have been tested in recent years.

Waymo debuted driverless vehicles in downtown Phoenix last August.

The coordinated effort between the city of Phoenix and corporations like Uber to increase electric car usage is similarly playing out at the state and national levels. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has begun developing a statewide network of electric vehicle charging stations, using seed funding from the Biden administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. 

Arizona will receive $76.5 million from the federal government over the next five years to establish electric vehicle charging stations along roads designated as alternative fuel corridors (AFCs). Arizona’s current and proposed AFCs according to its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan follow all the major interstate highways running through the state.

The Federal Highway Administration approved Arizona’s plan last September. Each charging station will be located within one mile off of the designated highway, with at least four EV fast chargers. A full charge takes the average EV about 20-30 minutes. Each charging station — except for two — will be placed 50 miles apart. ADOT funding won’t be used to construct or maintain the charging stations. These charging stations will be privately owned. The private owners will put up 20 percent of the costs to construct the stations, with the federal government paying 80 percent. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Phoenix Announces Plan to Prepare City For 280,000 Electric Vehicles

Phoenix Announces Plan to Prepare City For 280,000 Electric Vehicles

By Corinne Murdock |

On Sunday afternoon, the city of Phoenix rolled out its draft roadmap to ready the city for widespread electric vehicle use. The city projected that there would be up to 280,000 electric vehicles in the area by 2030, and noted that total adoption of electric vehicles would align with their climate action plan. In order to accommodate that quantity of electric vehicles, the roadmap cited U.S. Department of Energy projections that the city would require around 3,500 charging ports. 

The city presented a five-step plan. First, prioritize equity by maximizing restorative investments in underserved communities, achieving transformational change with bottom-up decision-making, and helping institutionalize equity and justice from the inside. Second, educate and outreach by engaging in qualitative and quantitative information gathering, designing and launching an education and awareness campaign, and monitoring and tracking consumer attitudes and behaviors. Third, leading by example by growing the city’s electric vehicle fleets and installing electric vehicle charging for the city fleet and employees. Fourth, growing public charging by identifying locations for electric vehicle charging networks and installing base amounts of electric vehicle charging annually. Fifth, standardizing electric vehicle charging access by streamlining permits and updating the zoning ordinance and building codes by 2025. 

One of the core principles for forming the roadmap was equity — affordability and accessibility for the underserved and disadvantaged communities. One of their first proposed actions for achieving equity was to either hire or assign a current staff member to focus on equity throughout the electric vehicle rollout. Then, the city would adopt an “Environmental Justice” screening tool. 

The plan projected that the cost of electric vehicles would reduce at some point in the future.

The city also asked Arizonans to take a survey on electric vehicles. The survey asked individuals about their knowledge, attitude towards, and current use of electric vehicles. It also asked individuals whether they supported new homes and buildings to be required to have electric vehicle charging stations. 

The roadmap is the latest effort of the Ad Hoc Committee on Electric Vehicles, formed by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego last June. 

In September, the city hosted a webinar to educate citizens about electric vehicles.

Members of the committee are Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari; Autumn Johnson, Tierra Strategy Public Interest Policy Advocate; Caryn Potter, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project Utility Program Manager; Catherine O’Brien, Salt River Project Electric Vehicle Lead; Clark Miller, Arizona State University (ASU) professor; Court Rich, Rose Law Group Renewable Energy and Regulatory Law Department; Delbert Hawk, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 640 President; Jason Smith, Arizona Public Service (APS) Energy Innovation Program Consultant; Katherine Stainken, Electrification Coalition (EC) Senior Director of Electric Vehicle Policy; Kathy Knoop, General Motors Vehicle Grid Integration Solutions Manager; Lisa Perez, Public Affairs Consultant; Omar Gonzales, Nikola Corporation State and Local Government Affairs Manager; Tim Sprague, Habitat Metro Owner; and Vianey Olivarria, CHISPA Arizona State Co-Director. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Medicare Ads and Other Inane Policies

Medicare Ads and Other Inane Policies

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

We’ve all seen them, the Medicare TV ads exhorting seniors to apply for enhanced benefits. Government appears to be coaxing often reluctant retirees into greater dependence.

But this is a colossally bad idea, even for those of us who support helping citizens in their sunset years. It stimulates greed (it’s freeeee!) and entitlement in the demographic which government programs have already made into the most wealthy. It expands the reach of government into our lives.

But it’s worse than that. The ads are pitching benefits in a program already teetering on bankruptcy. Americans were told that their mandatory payroll contributions were put in a fund to finance payouts in retirement, but that was a lie. Politicians raided the trust long ago and today’s retirees are dependent on the (inadequate) contributions of today’s payers – yes, like any other welfare program.

The rational response would be reforms that include reducing expenses where possible. Instead, we spend untold millions to pump up program outlays. Not smart. Consequences to follow.

But screeching Medicare ads aren’t the only government initiative which, partisan disagreements aside, simply don’t make sense. Take electric cars. They’re touted as a big key to a carbon-free future. We’re pouring public funds into subsidies, charging stations and other enticement for owners.

We may disagree over the feasibility of carbon reduction strategies to ultimately reduce climate change, but it doesn’t matter. Electric cars aren’t the answer. They still require energy that must be produced somehow.

The pollutants may come from an electricity generating plant instead of a car’s exhaust, but the damage done isn’t greatly different. The environmental costs of battery production and disposal as well as the extra power sources needed to service a national fleet of autos make EVs an environmental loser.

But politicians use them anyway to bolster green credentials. Buyers like the subsidies, the perks and driving a cool car. Manufacturers are joining the ranks of the uber-rich. So, the beat goes on.

EVs could have some environmental benefit if nuclear generation sourced their electricity. Once again, stupidity intervenes.

The environmental Left decreed long ago that nuclear was off-limits. Nuclear power plants would henceforth be discouraged by excessive regulation and harassment. The strategy has basically worked, but it’s a shame.

It’s still true that nuclear is by far the most environmentally friendly, non-emitting energy source available. Nuclear-producing France pays 50% less for energy with 10% the amount of pollution experienced by Germany, which sanctimoniously exited the nuclear market years ago.

Here‘s more lunacy. A year ago, America had finally achieved energy independence, after decades of kowtowing to Arab sheiks and oil-rich autocrats . Within days, the Biden administration returned us to supplicant status. Pipeline permits were canceled, offshore drilling cut back and even the remote ANWR oil deposits were shut down.

Meanwhile, with our consent, Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline was approved, which will dominate Western Europe‘s natural gas supplies. Biden unsuccessfully begged OPEC to increase oil production, so US gas prices have predictably skyrocketed and a cold winter looms.

Again, the environmental benefits of our foolishness are nil. Pipelines are the most environmentally safe way of transporting natural gas. The fuels from Russia and the Middle East are no cleaner than ours.

We have more inane policies. Children too young to vote, drink, smoke or drive are now permitted to change their socially constructed gender by irreversibly altering their bodies-without parental consent.

$450,000 payouts are seriously proposed for illegal immigrants who were separated from their children in a humane effort to avoid mixing children with adults during detention. In spite of causing no known harm, GMO bans limit the amount of food available to starving Africans.

The driving force for these nutty, harmful policies is the relentless pursuit of electoral success by pandering to special interest groups. We’ve come a long ways from Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a “wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another…”

Listen to political analysts uncritically predicting the fate of multi-trillion dollar spending bills based solely on how the vote would affect legislators’ prospects for remaining in office another term.

It’s disgraceful, but we expect no more, so that’s what we get.

Long-Planned Rate Change Will Bring VLT Parity For Electric Cars, Traditional Vehicles

Long-Planned Rate Change Will Bring VLT Parity For Electric Cars, Traditional Vehicles

Changes to state law mean that drivers who purchase alternative fuel vehicles will pay the same vehicle license tax (VLT) rate as other drivers by 2023. The change in VLT rates is phased-in, starting Jan. 1, 2022.

The VLT is paid during vehicle registration and is assessed in place of a personal property tax often charged in other states. The VLT funds transportation infrastructure in Arizona, including highways, bridges and local roads, and contributes to the general funds of cities/towns and counties.

In 2019, the Legislature amended Arizona Revised Statute 28-5805 (link is external) . This implemented a phased-in approach for making the VLT formula used for alternative fuel vehicles the same one used currently for traditional cars and trucks, bringing fairness to VLT assessments. The changes in the formula will begin taking effect this coming January and be completely phased-in by 2023. The changes ensure that drivers of alternative fuel vehicles contribute to the preservation and maintenance of the state’s 7,000-mile highway system at the same rate as drivers of traditional vehicles. Bringing parity to VLT assessments is especially important for the continued maintenance and expansion of Arizona’s infrastructure as alternative fuel vehicles continue to increase in popularity in Arizona.

Under current state law, an alternative fuel vehicle registered before Jan. 1, 2022, will have its VLT calculated using 1% of the manufacturer’s base retail price of the vehicle. For an alternative fuel vehicle registered between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, the VLT will be calculated using 20% of the manufacturer’s base retail price of the vehicle. After Dec. 31, 2022, the formula used to calculate VLT for alternative fuel vehicles will be the same one used for other vehicles, as determined by ARS 28-5801 (link is external) .

What potential buyers of alternative fuel vehicles need to know

  • It’s important to note that the VLT formula attached to an alternative fuel vehicle is determined by vehicle registration date, which can be different from the purchase date. A temporary registration permit issued by a vehicle dealer qualifies as the registration date and must be issued before Jan. 1, 2022, for a vehicle to have its VLT calculated using the 1% formula.
  • For private party sales, new title documentation must be processed by an MVD or an Authorized Third Party office before Jan. 1, 2022, for the alternative fuel vehicle to have its VLT calculated using the 1% formula. Note: Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.

What current owners of alternative fuel vehicles need to know

  • A current owner of an Arizona-registered alternative fuel vehicle who makes no changes to their vehicle title will continue to have their car’s VLT calculated with the 1% formula. The VLT rate changes won’t affect these vehicles until a change is made to the vehicle title, triggering a new registration cycle.
  • The VLT formula attached to the alternative fuel vehicle will be changed to the current formula in use if a new registration cycle is established. Examples of this include but are not limited to: selling the car, transferring ownership, adding or removing an owner from the title, and a lease buy-out.
  • Paying off a vehicle loan and the lender’s name being removed from the title will not trigger a new registration cycle.