California is the nation’s undisputed leader in electric vehicle (EV) usage. In part, this is due to the aggressive policies of leaders pushing for zero emissions vehicles. Just last month California instituted the Advanced Clean Truck Regulation, which will require commercial vehicle manufacturers to only sell electric trucks by 2045. But California leaders should not view electric vehicles as the only solution to addressing pollution and other transportation related issues, particularly if the policies they are proposing will negatively impact already marginalized communities.

A new analysis conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University showed battery run EVs in some states cause over three times as much local air pollution than traditional vehicles because of the coal used to create electricity. For electric buses, the results were even more stark, producing over six times as much pollution as gas-powered buses. So while some try to promote EVs as “zero emissions” vehicles, they were still constructed and run on electricity produced from fossil fuels.

This research showed that “no single technology proved better at reducing emissions of both greenhouse gases and local pollution across every U.S. county.” Hopefully, this will help combat the narrative that EVs are the end-all-be-all to reducing emissions.

And this is an important message that elected officials should take to heart, instead of instinctively supporting any policy they believe promotes EV usage – particularly when doing so hurts low-income communities.

For example, some have supported allowing utility companies to raise rates on all of their customers to fund the construction of electric vehicle charging stations. We are seeing this right here in California, where the Public Utilities Commission approved Southern California Edison and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) spending $343 million and $236 million, respectively.

While there is certainly a need for more charging stations to encourage EV adoption, allowing utility companies to increase the heating bills of all of their customers is the wrong approach.

Worse yet, in the recently passed House transportation package, not only can utility companies use their ratepayers funds to construct charging stations, but they also qualify for federal grants to build this infrastructure. All despite the charging stations being a future revenue stream for the utilities.

It is unfair to ask low-and-working-class Californians to pay more in their monthly heating bill to pay for the utility company to build charging stations.

Ironically, this solution would result in less charging stations overall, since it would chase away private sector investment into the EV charging market, since there is no way they could compete with these utilities.

And in an another effort to promote EV usage, California exempted all 100% electric and hydrogen-fueled cars made before 2020 from their recent gas tax increase. But California’s transportation infrastructure depends on the gas tax, which even before the recent increase was the highest tax on gas in the country, so this exemption is costing the state an estimated $32 million a year.

At a time where coronavirus related shutdowns are leading to a decrease in traffic, the state could lose $1.3 billion in gas tax revenue as a result. This lack of revenue will stall road maintenance and construction, and make the roads more dangerous for Californians.

This undoubtedly will disproportionately hurt working-class Californians, who not only get hit by the gas tax because they are more likely not to be able to work from home and are less likely to drive electric vehicles, but they now will have to drive on potentially dangerous and under-repaired streets to get to work while also paying more in gas.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House passed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would increase spending on roads while prioritizing reducing pollution and generating jobs. But Democrats included provisions like allowing utility companies to raise rates on customers to promote electric vehicles, in addition to other policies that would never pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

Our transportation issues are far too important to allow partisan politics to prevent a comprehensive infrastructure bill to become law, and quickly. We are counting on leading Democrats in the state, like local Representative Karen Bass, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Kamala Harris, to continue looking after working-class Californians as they have in the past and support transportation policies that protect the environment, but don’t harm disenfranchised communities in the process. While the promotion of electric vehicles is important, it is not more important than ensuring that low-income families are able to pay their heating bills and get to work safely.

Camelia Straughn is a retired Military, Sergeant First Class and published author