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As California Gov. Preps Budget, Consumer Reports Finds Golden State Consumers Support Clean Transportation Programs

  • CR urges state legislators to make smart investments in clean vehicle initiatives that can save car buyers thousands of dollars


  • CR survey of California consumers finds widespread interest in electric vehicles, broad support for vehicle and infrastructure incentives


SACRAMENTO — As California Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to present a revised budget proposal to the state Legislature, Consumer Reports is urging lawmakers to support smart investments in clean transportation programs.


In a letter to state legislators, the nonprofit, nonpartisan CR says California initiatives to promote adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will help save consumers money, stimulate the state economy, and help battle climate change. The legislature should fully fund clean transportation programs and require that the majority of those investments be made in historically disadvantaged and low-income communities, CR says.


A summer 2020 CR survey of California consumers finds widespread interest in EVs and strong support for clean vehicle investments: 


  • Nearly 3 in 4 adult drivers in California are interested in buying or leasing electric vehicles.
  • 57 percent of California drivers agree that incentives and tax rebates for EVs should target low- and moderate-income consumers. 
  • 63 percent of California drivers agree that the state should invest in EV charging infrastructure.


The governor is expected to present his revised budget proposal on May 14.  Lawmakers have until June 15 to pass the budget in the Legislature.


Alfred Artis, policy analyst for Consumer Reports, says, “Climate change forces California consumers to pay more for water, healthcare, cooling their homes, and fighting forest fires. Californians need a down payment from the legislature to expand equitable access to affordable, clean transportation, and to fight the rising cost of climate change.”


In its letter to the legislature, CR recommends that lawmakers fully fund the governor’s request for $1.5 billion in clean vehicle programs, and authorize $500 million for clean transportation equity programs. CR also recommends that the California Energy Commission’s equity requirements ensure at least half of the commission’s Clean Transportation Program budget be used to support transportation electrification for the primary benefit of, or primarily serving, residents of disadvantaged or low-income communities, such as improving access to charging at single-family and multi-family homes in those communities.


Artis adds, “Our research shows that electric vehicles and other low-polluting vehicles deliver significant consumer benefits, with real cost savings for car buyers.  Our survey finds 74 percent of California drivers are interested in buying EVs, and the majority agree that the state should invest in charging stations. We urge the state to move forward with investments in these money-saving vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them.”  


CR research shows that today’s mainstream electric vehicles can save the typical driver $6,000 to $10,000 over the life of the vehicle, compared to owning a comparable gas-powered vehicle. The average driver will spend 60% less on fueling and half as much on maintenance. CR notes that this will afford benefits to new car buyers and used car buyers alike.

More information about CR surveys of consumer attitudes about electric vehicles and fuel economy in California and other states is available here.

Contact: David Butler, david.butler@consumer.org