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PennEnvironment Urges Pittsburgh To Become More Electric Vehicle Friendly

Rich Pedroncelli
A man unplugs a charger from his electric vehicle at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District charging station in Sacramento, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015.

Environmental advocacy group PennEnvironment believes Pittsburgh should be doing more to encourage greater use of electric vehicles. A newly released policy guide calls on the city to introduce additional charging stations on streets and in parking structures.

The group predicts that 9,000 electric vehicles will be on Pittsburgh's roads by 2030, kickstarting the need for EV-friendly policies.

The report suggests that city officials advocate for adding charging stations on city streets for Pittsburghers who rely on street parking. 

Ashleigh Deemer, PennEnvironment's Western Pennsylvania director, said more charging infrastructure would make owning an electric vehicle more accessible for Pittsburgh consumers.

"So parking garages, business districts, where people do their every day business," Deemer said. "[Where they] go shopping, go to school, go to work. We want to make it as convenient as possible."

Deemer said advancements in electric vehicles, such as the ability to go further on a charge, are making the cars more attractive. Of more than 8 million total passenger cars registered in Pennsylvania, just over 4,300 are electric. That's over 750 more than were registered in 2016, Deemer said.

"And the more infrastructure we install, the easier it is," Deemer said. "If you can charge while you're at work, why not? And for free? Even better."

Currently, two city-owned parking structures in downtown Pittsburgh have charging stations that drivers can use for free.