Last Thursday, the governors of eight [blue] states pledged to cooperate toward a goal of putting 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on their roads by 2025.

The cooperative programs are meant to make it easier for their citizens to buy and use zero-emission vehicles.

While the steps cited so far in the memorandum of understanding are not binding, California governor Jerry Brown called it a "serious and profoundly important commitment" in a statement.

Over the next six months, the states will develop an action plan to turn the pledge into concrete steps. Those will likely include many straightforward tasks widely acknowledged by advocates as necessary to make ZEV adoption easier.

Those include incentives for installing infrastructure--both public and private electric-car charging stations, and possibly public hydrogen fueling stations--that may include changing building codes to make residential installations easier.

Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle at Camp Pendleton hydrogen fueling station, photo by Joe Tash

Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle at Camp Pendleton hydrogen fueling station, photo by Joe Tash

Other tasks: including emission-free vehicles in state fleets, working with public-utility commissions on lower overnight electric rates to promote home recharging of electric cars, and agreeing on common signage for such new facilities as public charging stations.

The group will also evaluate other incentives that can make zero-emission cars more attractive--for instance, providing zero-emission vehicles with single-occupant access to carpool lanes. That permit has proven a huge draw on California's crowded freeways.

The eight states in the pact--which collectively represent 23 percent of plug-in electric car sales nationwide--are California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York and Vermont.

They're known as the "Clean Car States" because all of them have adopted stricter auto-emission standards pioneered by California.

Supportive statements for the pledge came from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Sierra Club, and other environmental and energy groups.

But electric-car advocate Chelsea Sexton sounded a note of caution, suggesting that the pledge could remain little more than "another shiny announcement" unless large volumes of zero-emission vehicles are widely offered for sale by automakers.

Which means, she clarified, that there need to be many more offerings than today's Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and BMW i3.

Still, 2025 is a long time away, even if carmakers are now finalizing their plans for 2017 and 2018 models.

Do you think the governors' plans will make a difference? And will they succeed in putting that many electric and hydrogen-fueled cars on their roads in 12 years?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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