These U.S. cities are helping low-income drivers with electric car-sharing programs

in April 7th, 2021

It’s no secret that transportation is one of the largest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. While the recommendation for most Americans is to drive less, the opposite is true for low-income families who, studies have shown, were twice as likely to find a job and four times as likely to remain employed when having access to a car. So how do you provide affordable transportation solutions while curbing carbon emissions? 

Six cities have already come forward with their solutions: Car sharing programs that use electric vehicles. Most recently, Boston introduced it’s Good2Go service for residents of Roxbury, a low-income neighborhood where public transit is also often unreliable. The pricing model is income tiered to allow for discounted rental rates for low-income customers, many of whom have already shared how the service has allowed them to commute to work, ferry children to and from school, and even access more affordable grocery stores. The expansion of such programs, in Boston and elsewhere, is part of city climate action plans.

  • In August 2020, Denver pledged $300,000 of its COVID relief funds to their electric car-share service for underserved communities and essential workers, including small businesses that can’t afford to own cars.
  • In 2018, Los Angeles used a $1.7 million grant to partner with BlueLA and offer 100 electric vehicles and 200 chargers across six neighborhoods. The program also includes a discounted rate for low income-qualified members. 
  • Meanwhile Minneapolis, St. Paul, and St. Louis have all been awarded funds and are working to launch their own electric vehicle car sharing programs this year. 

Some additional resources…

  • For full coverage on the new Boston service, turn to Energy News.
  • To learn about the other city programs implemented or in the works, turn to the Natural Resources Defense Council
  • For more on transportations effect on gas emissions, turn to this EPA study.
  • For more on how vehicle access improves life outcomes for low-income households, turn to the Urban Institute.
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