THE END OF GAS-GUZZLERS IN TEXAS?

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and cars are no exception to the rule.

But that could be about to change as the Lone Star State's second-biggest city has been handed a million-dollar grant to tackle pollution. The initiative will promote the use of bikes and electric vehicles as alternatives to the region's widely favored pickups.

Last week, the Department of Energy awarded San Antonio's Office of Sustainability $1.2 million dollars in federal funding to combat the city's high-energy habits.

According to the official website for the City of San Antonio, these funds will be used to "enhance energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and mitigate climate pollution associated with transportation-related emissions."

Texas ranks as the top state in terms of natural gas consumption, according to energy cost comparison website EnergyBot, guzzling up 4.67 trillion cubic feet per year.

The city of San Antonio has also long needed to pump the breaks on its gas and diesel use, currently sitting at number 24 on the American Lung Association's list of the most polluted U.S. cities.

Nearly 30 percent of San Antonio's emissions come from "on road transportation," according to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2024 report on San Antonio, which outlined a "climate action plan" to address this.

In a three-pronged effort to depollute its air, San Antonio will use the government grant to enact an "Energy Master Plan" for San Antonio International Airport, focused on "improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

San Antonians' will also enjoy increased access to electric vehicle charging stations, and the city's Office of Sustainability plans to install EV chargers at several multifamily residences across the city.

Finally, vouchers will be offered to the city's low-income residents, incentivizing them to take part in a new E-bike pilot program.

The E-bike and EV charging initiatives are being conducted in collaboration with Opportunity Home San Antonio, which oversees low-rent housing opportunities throughout the city.

"Through this e-bike incentive pilot program, we will provide approximately 171 Opportunity Home residents a sustainable and cost-effective mobility option for their commute to work, school or to pick up groceries," according to Doug Melnick, chief sustainability officer for the City of San Antonio.

The used-vehicle website CoPilot lists the Ford F-150 as the most popular second-hand car for San Antonians.

Six trucks made the city's top ten, alongside one SUV, two sedans and the Toyota RAV4 crossover.

Other cities in Texas are no different, with the F-150 ranking as the state-wide bestseller.

The lack of state income tax in Texas means there are no state tax credits for electric vehicles, and so the state may have a harder time than others in shifting away from its perennial love of pickups.

However, the efforts by San Antonio signal an awareness of the need to push Texans toward less pollutive means of transport.

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2024-07-09T19:15:14Z dg43tfdfdgfd