Clean energy transportation makes sense, but also dollars and cents

The transition to a clean energy economy requires knocking down barriers. Regulatory obstacles. Massive subsidies for fossil fuels. And most importantly—high cost hurdles for new, clean technology, which, though cheaper and better in the long term, have to overcome the inertia of two centuries of fossil fuel dependence.

Washington took a step forward in addressing some of these. For the last few years, our state has had on the books a small subsidy for alternative fuel trucks. The program didn’t work—the incentive level was set too low, preferencing fossil gas over zero-emission choices, and covered only a small range of vehicles. Climate Solutions this year partnered the Association of Washington Business, Avista, UPS, BYD, Transpower and others to advocate for an updated incentive.

Governor Inslee signed the reform into law yesterday morning. HB1809 expands the types of vehicles that qualify for the incentive, now including not just freight trucks but also passenger shuttles and commercial service trucks. And critically, the incentive has been restructured to support all alternative fuels, allowing electric trucks to compete on an even playing field with fossil fuel options. Because the cost savings for going electric are so much deeper than fossil gas, an even playing field means that more businesses can choose 100% clean options—improving air quality, saving money, and protecting the planet.

I’m particularly encouraged by the coalition that came together to push this improvement. Yes, there were clean energy businesses and climate advocates, but it was also traditional business groups and companies as well. That’s the moral of this story—clean energy isn’t just about fighting climate change. It’s about dollars and cents too. 

pictured above, from left: Teresita Torres and Majken Ryherd (Climate Solutions), Alan Kwan ( Dept. of Commerce), Peter Moulton (Dept of Commerce), Vlad Gutman-Britten (Climate Solutions), Kristal Fiser (UPS), John Rothlin (Avista), Sheri Call (Washington Trucking Association), Rep. Jake Fey, Rep. Ed Orcutt, Mike Ennis (Association of Washington Business)

Author Bio

Vlad Gutman-Britten

former Washington Director, Climate Solutions

Vlad was Washington State Director until 12/1/21.  He brought varied and deep experience in policy, advocacy, and campaign politics to his work at Climate Solutions.

Before coming to Climate Solutions, Vlad was Senior Policy Director for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, where he successfully secured tens of millions of dollars in state investment in habitat and recreation lands. He was previously a key part of issue advocacy and communications efforts for large companies, including Microsoft and GE, and before that served as AIPAC's Deputy Midwest Political Director. A veteran campaign operative, he has run congressional and state legislative campaigns and worked on races ranging from mayoral to presidential.

Vlad is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he received a degree in political science. In his free time, Vlad bikes, listens to everything from opera to folk music, and smokes whatever fish or meat fits into his smoker.  He is soon off to New York City to start a new adventure as the Assistant Director for Policy and Markets at NYSERDA, New York State's energy agency.