By Gina Coplon-Newfield
If you're looking high and low for a new set of wheels, now is the perfect time to go electric. With "group buy" discounts, many people are eligible for incredible price incentives to help make the switch from dirty gasoline-fueled cars toward cleaner, electric vehicles (EVs) an easy one. Residents in states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Colorado, Virginia and Maryland have access to EV discount programs offering shockingly high savings.
1 Million+ Electric Cars Are Now on the World’s Roads https://t.co/VTLRcbX1kI @chrispaine @CoolElectricCar— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1464999306.0
How does it work? Organizations or agencies collaborate with automakers and car dealerships to provide a "group buy" discount, which offers the auto dealers greater assurance that people will look to them for their EV shopping. Most of these discounts are for thousands of dollars off the price of a car. And indeed, all of these group buy EV discount programs are on top of the federal tax credit people can receive of up to $7,500 on an EV purchase and a rebate or tax credit that many states offer too. In many places, the combined group buy discount, federal tax credit and state rebate can total upwards of $15,000 in savings.
Here are some examples:
Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Through February, Drive Green with Mass Energy is offering Massachusettes and Rhode Island residents massive discounts of thousands of dollars off the purchase or lease of several different models of electric vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Ford C-MAX Energi and Ford Fusion Energi through group buy prices. To see how much you can save on each model, click here. And remember that any savings in Massachusetts and Rhode Island will be coupled with up to $2,500 through a state government rebate. My own Cambridge, Massachusetts city councillor Jan Devereux just leased a Chevy Volt through this program and made a video about her experience, and several people who recently bought EVs through Drive Green with Mass Energy tell us about their real-life experiences on this helpful blog.
On top of the state tax credit of up to $5,160 for the purchase or lease of an EV, many Coloradans can participate in a special group buy price through Drive Electric Northern Colorado when they purchase or lease a Nissan LEAF. With an original price of $33,710, the price is reduced all the way down to $11,840 once both federal and state tax credits are applied, as well as the $5,210 group buy discount. This special group buy price ends on Dec. 31, so now might be time to start dreaming of a green Christmas.
Virginia, Maryland and DC
Residents of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC have access to a pre-negotiated price for the 2016 Model Year Nissan LEAF through the Virginia Clean Cities partnership. With this group buy offer and federal tax credits, area residents can take advantage of up to $12,000 off the sticker price. And the program offers people information about solar energy too.
While Utah's U Drive Electric group buy program has recently expired, it provides a creative model for others to follow, bringing together public and private groups to promote EVs and reduce local air pollution. The University of Utah, the city of Salt Lake City, and the organization Utah Clean Energy created the program for community members to purchase or lease fully electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices. In 2015 this program led to the purchase of 76 electric vehicles in the Salt Lake City area with discounts ranging between 3 and 25 percent off the retail price.
Even in areas where group buy discounts are not available, the price of EVs is often lower than you'd think. If you purchase an EV, the federal tax credit of up to $7,500 applies to everyone, and in states including California, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, Rhode Island, Maryland, Utah, New Jersey and (coming soon) New York, states are offering rebates, sales tax waivers or tax credits off the price of EVs for those who lease and/or purchase an EV. Additionally, reduced fueling and maintenance costs make many EVs cheaper to own and operate over the lifetime of the vehicles, as reported by NerdWallet.
The Sierra Club's recently updated online EV guide provides information about just about every plug-in car on the market in the U.S. If you click on a car and type in your zip code, you can even see incentives available in your state and how much you'd reduce your fueling costs and emissions in your region of the country, based on the electricity sources where you live.
With more than 20 electric vehicle models available in different mileage ranges and price points, this holiday season may be the right time to go green and save green too.
Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.
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By Elliot Douglas
The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.