Sen. Sabina Perez on Tuesday introduced legislation to curb the government of Guam’s reliance on fossil fuels and reduce spending through the purchase of zero-emission vehicles.
Bill 84-36 establishes a purchasing preference for zero-emissions vehicles that are within 3% of the price of a similarly performing non-electric vehicle.
“Pacific islands are the smallest contributors to climate change, yet we are disproportionately impacted by its effects of rising sea levels and subsequent displacement of people,” Perez said. “While we will continue to remind larger nations and big businesses of their global and moral responsibilities, we must also take every opportunity to increase our island’s resiliency against climate crises by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.”
The measure is expected to result in cost savings to the government of Guam through reduced maintenance costs and a decreased need for fuel.
“Zero-emissions vehicles are not only better for the environment, they’re less costly to operate and require less maintenance, which has been a struggle for our government,” Perez said. “Guam’s biggest export is cash. We send hundreds of millions of dollars off-island every year to purchase fuel. A government-wide switch to zero-emissions vehicles will help keep money circulating on-island.”
As zero-emissions vehicles are often more expensive than other similarly performing non-electric vehicles, the preference stated in the bill would only be in effect until cost parity between both types of vehicles is reached.
The outlook for cost parity is positive, with President Biden’s recent executive order which seeks to turn the entire fleet of 645,000 vehicles across all federal agencies into clean and zero-emissions vehicles.
“We have a responsibility both to our region and to future generations to restore and maintain a healthy relationship with our natural environment,” Perez said. “Shifting to clean and renewable energy brings us closer to inafa’maolek by living sustainably with our island.”