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An almost unanimously bi-partisan electric vehicle or EV bill written by Florida Republican Senator Jason Brodeur, R-Lake Mary, got a veto this week by Governor Ron DeSantis. It is baffling representatives and Floridians on both sides of the aisle as it would have saved the state $277 million. Its purpose was to add EVs to future state and local vehicle fleets. 

Both fans and critics of Presidential hopeful DeSantis are puzzled by the veto. Florida has a high percentage of ethanol-based fuel, and we all know the downsides to its production. So this would be one step in lowering the need for the fuel. Not to mention the environmental pluses.

What specifically does the Florida EV bill do?

Florida utility vehicles queued up after hurricane
Florida utility vehicles after hurricane | Mario Tama via Getty

SB 284 required state and local governments, colleges, and universities to purchase vehicles showing the lowest lifetime costs. So, if there was an issue with EVs themselves, it doesn’t mandate their use. Another cheaper type of vehicle could be the priority to purchase should it show lower costs and depreciation. 

The law currently bases vehicle purchases on the best fuel economy. Florida Department of Management Services was to compile recommendations by July 1, 2024. This would advise both state and local agencies on EVs and other renewable fuel vehicles at that time. 

How did the Florida EV bill determine a $277 million savings?

Electrical lines at Florida's Disney World with car lined up
Electrical lines at Disney World | Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

“It allows us to look at procuring electric vehicles,” Brodeur told several news agencies. “It doesn’t mean you have to purchase any.” The Florida Natural Gas Association, Advanced Energy United and Electrification Coalition, and Sierra Club fully supported the bill. “It was a common sense, good governance bill,” said former Republican Senator Jeff Brandes. “There is nothing in this bill that any person in America should be against.” 

The Department of Management Services calculated that the bill saved around $18,000 per vehicle purchased. Over 15 years that came to $277 million. 

“This veto is a baffling decision that will cost Florida taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Michael Weiss, head of Florida Advanced Energy United. “The Florida Legislature saw the clear economic and taxpayer benefits of a modern and efficient state fleet, but Gov. DeSantis somehow didn’t.”

Is Florida Governor DeSantis Anti-EV?

Florida Eis Green utility trucks | via Getty
Florida Eis Green utility trucks | Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty

But, based on past comments, Governor DeSantis has some very positive opinions about EVs. A few years ago, at a Florida Turnpike EV charging station conference, he said, “It’s amazing how much cheaper it is to just charge a vehicle than to fill up a gas tank. And so as technology evolves, we hope that that’ll be reflected in people’s pocketbooks. So we want to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to make that a reality.”

As of the writing of this post, Governor DeSantis’ staff has not responded to several news organizations’ requests for his reasons for vetoing the bill.


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