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Utah leads the way to an “electric highway”

SALT LAKE CITY — With gas prices at an all-time high, more and more people are turning to electric cars. But the question of charging and the lack of charging stations is what worries drivers.

But with Utah leading on what is being dubbed an electric highway through the intermountain west, those hopes and fears could be addressed.

“In an internal combustion gasoline car, you know the next gas station won’t be too far away. With electric vehicle charging stations, they’re not as widespread and available,” said Flint Timmins of the office of Utah. Tourism.

The lack of stations has made long journeys in electric vehicles a dream for those who own the cars.

“It’s, unfortunately, really, it’s a real concern for people because there’s a good chance you might not be able to get to the next charging station,” Timmins said.

Charging anxiety is a reality here in Utah, but the new ChargeWest Electric Highway program launched Tuesday in Salt Lake City aims to change that.

“It’s important for Salt Lake City because we’re investing in electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

The mayor is one of the many to have given their support to the project.

“It’s exciting for me, mainly because I got into politics to improve our air quality and make sure our future is cleaner than when I started,” Mendenhall explained.

The goal is to install infrastructure in every western state, creating the largest corridor of charging stations in the country between Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.

“When you travel from Salt Lake City to Moab or Boulder or Zion, that you know when you get there, you can reload that vehicle, keep playing, and then go home,” Mendenhall said.

The ability for everyone to venture into the region is important for tourism.

“Tourism is really about marketing our destination and our state to potential visitors,” Timmins said. “Visitors are looking more for responsible travel, and I think this is a very good representation of that desire to be a responsible traveler.”

The Utah Office of Tourism believes the electric highway will create even more travel opportunities.

“Where can we say, not only do we have these majestic landscapes and cultural heritage and unique opportunities available here, but you can also do it in an electric vehicle,” Timmins added.

The goal will not be to place charging stations in major cities or destinations like national parks, but in smaller communities and small destinations across the state.

“Tourists coming to Utah, whether they’re coming from Vegas or arriving through the Salt Lake City airport, can get an electric vehicle with this option and still contribute to our economy, but without having the environmental impact they owe today,” Mendenhall said.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion