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Transportation has been a sore point in state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and greater use of electric vehicles can help fulfill state goals and new governor's executive order.

COURTESY: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY  - The state is promoting greater use of electric vehicles, and launched a new website to educate the public. The state of Oregon launched a new website Tuesday, June 19, to help Oregonians learn about all-electric and plug-in vehicles.

GoElectric.Oregon.gov provides an overview of the benefits of electric cars and fleets along with an introduction to local programs and initiatives that support them.

"We want to increase our momentum to get the state to 50,000 registered electric vehicles by 2020," said Janine Benner, director of the Oregon Department of Energy, in an email promoting the new website.

That's the goal set by Governor Kate Brown in an executive order she signed in November. Oregon could have to nearly triple the number of EVs to meet the goal. Oregon had more than 16,000 registered electric vehicles as of December 2017, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Transportation has been identified as perhaps the toughest area to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon, because emissions from vehicles are growing while efforts to reduce emissions have been more successful in other sectors.

"EVs are a critical piece of the long-term solution to meeting our reduction goals," said Richard Whitman, director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Strategies laid out in the executive order include more and improved EV charging infrastructure, and technical resources for fleet managers, utilities and businesses. The governor also called on all state agencies to lead by example by adding EVs to the state fleet and research more charging options on public property.

The state operates the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program to promote more EVs.

DEQ and other state agencies propose to spend a portion of Oregon's share of the Volkswagen diesel settlement to support state efforts to boost EV car usage. Information about the draft proposal and the opportunity to comment can be found on the new GoElectric.Oregon.gov site.

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