EVs In New York City

EVs In New York City

The Fight Against Air Pollution, The Climate Crisis and Wasteful Spending

Want to hear more uplifting stories of ways people are standing up to industry? Stories of citizens and governments are working together to both make a positive impact and save tax money?

Look no further than New York City’s growing electric vehicle fleet.

What started as the NYC Clean Fleet Plan, announced in 2015, is now 6 years ahead of schedule.

EV Tax Credits Crucial Tool for Limiting Climate Change


Gasoline and diesel used by Americans cars and light trucks cause more than one billion metric tons of CO2 pollution every year, or about 17% of all U.S carbon pollution.  Because of the imperative of drastically reducing carbon pollution to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, electric vehicles have emerged as a key technology for cutting CO2 while retaining the convenience and mobility afforded by private vehicles.

Governments seeking to advance the shift from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles have four main options.   They can (1) Do nothing and leave it to the “free market;” (2) Tax ICE cars and/or raise gas taxes; (3) Require automakers to sell a minimum percentage of EVs or stop selling new gasoline vehicles entirely; or (4) Subsidize EV sales through tax credits of similar mechanism.

Doing nothing leaves the growth of electric vehicles to the free market.  Given that electric vehicles have been on the market for fewer than 10 years, and rely on newly developed technologies and supply chains that do not fully benefit from economies of scale, their upfront cost is slightly higher than the cost of a comparable gas vehicle.  While certain consumers will purchase electric vehicles despite their higher cost to avoid carbon pollution or for their superior performance, the volume of unsubsidized sales will be significantly less than it would be with subsidy covering some of the cost gap between EVs and ICE cars.  The lower sales volumes will cause EV vehicle and charging infrastructure development to further lag and will disincentivize manufacturers from producing EVs, a result that perpetuates the ICE car status quo and their high levels of carbon pollution.  It is also important to note that oil enjoys billions in tax subsidies, in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year by the Pentagon defending the oil-rich Persian Gulf region.

The second option to boost EV sales is to place significant taxes on ICE vehicles or gasoline to the point where EVs become more attractive.  This approach has been effectively employed in Norway, where EV sales now exceed 50% of all sales, and in China, where EV sales are growing fast.    Given Americans’ aversion towards taxes, this approach is probably politically unfeasible.

The third option is requiring automakers to sell a minimum percentage of EVs, or stop selling new gasoline vehicles.  This is the approach taken by California and nine other states that have imposed the Zero Emission Vehicles mandate credit system, which requires that roughly 2.5% of the cars sold by auto manufacturers in a state be zero emissions, a percentage which rises to 8% by 2025.  This approach has proven highly successful in California and other states representing 30% of all U.S. auto sales, and has spurred a proliferation of EV models.  Although automakers have strenuously resisted the ZEV mandate, its efficacy in spurring EV production suggests that the mandate approach, which does not require direct government funds to implement, may be a highly effective approach to advancing the transition to EVs.  China has adopted a modified version of the ZEV mandate.   Ten countries have announced plans to phase out sales of new ICE vehicles altogether by dates ranging from 2025 to 2040.

The final option is the EV tax credit or similar government subsidy.  The existing EV tax credit of up to $7500 per vehicle up to a ceiling of 200,000 EVs sold per manufacturer, has been successful in spurring EV growth, and helping overcome the challenges faced by EVs of higher upfront costs (for now), unfamiliar technology, and a still-developing charging network.   Tesla and General Motors, the leading U.S. manufacturers of EVs, have both sold more than 200,000 EVs, and therefore the tax credit for the best-selling EV models will soon terminate if it is not extended.  The Driving America Forward Act, introduced by a bipartisan coalition of Senators, seeks to extend a $7,000 tax credit until automakers have sold 400,000 additional EVs, and then taper down from there.

The EV tax credit is under attack by critics in Congress on the basis that the users of the tax credit tend to be higher income, and that the tax credit is therefore unfair and elitist.  This argument misses the point.  The EV tax credit exists to spur development of a deep and broad EV market capable of supplanting the unsustainable oil-powered status quo, not to reward higher-income buyers.    To the extent that higher-income buyers come forward to support the fledgling EV industry in partnership with the government, that is a positive that reduces governmental outlays to advance a much-needed technology, and grow the market for less expensive, used EVs

The “unfairness” arguments behind the repeal effort are just a smoke screen for those who want to maintain the petroleum status quo.  Sen. Barrasso and the other cosponsors of the bill to repeal the tax credit all voted for the highly regressive Trump tax cuts, and are all supported by the Koch Brothers, who are working vigorously to repeal the EV tax credits.

In sum, the EV tax credits are a crucial tool for displacing the planet-killing rule of the petroleum-powered car.For this reason, they should be maintained and exte

Gasoline Breakup Song for a World Aflame

The love affair with gasoline is ending.

A summer of smog and record-breaking wildfires is making people think twice about their relationship with gasoline. Coltura’s danceable new song and video, “Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame)” helps them do just that.

“Gasoline is bad news,” says activist, artist and songwriter Franke James, “The world is ready for a gasoline breakup song. It’s time to tell this fossil fool we’ve found someone new.”

The music video features cameos by Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and former Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm.

Scored to a funky dance beat by Billiam James, the lyrics describe our frustrations with gasoline through the lens of a romance gone wrong. The production features vocals by hip-hop artists Missy DFrancis ArevaloSejal Lal, and Lindal. They are joined in the video by Bill McKibben, who sings along, “We gotta leave you in the ground.”


The germ of the idea for the gasoline breakup song arose out of Coltura’s improvisional theater and video work with Seattle troupe Unexpected Productions in 2015, where the theme of “breaking up with gasoline” first emerged. Inspired by Coltura's work, artists and activists Franke James and Billiam James created the Gasoline breakup song. Their goal was to musically capture this pivotal moment when people are finally ready to say goodbye to Gasoline... because they found someone new.

“Gasoline is like a bad relationship” says Matthew Metz, co-executive director of Coltura, the Executive Producers of the song. Metz continues, “Sure we can stay with gasoline, but why? It just getting worse. And we have real alternatives.”

Indeed, many listeners will relish the fun and thrill of telling their no-good lover, “I found someone new. Someone better, better than you.” (And then jumping into an electric vehicle and driving away.) Jennifer Granholm steps into the video to show her support for clean energy transportation, by singing along, “Change the way we move around.”

“Everyone needs to re-examine their relationship with gasoline,” says Metz, “Our goal is to inspire people to reject gasoline and embrace alternatives. Stopping gasoline use is the most effective way to address air pollution and climate change.”

Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame)
Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame) is an original new song created and produced by Sound Activism. Coltura is executive producer. It features Missy DFrancis ArevaloSejal Lal, and Lindal. Available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, and other networks.

Music Video: https://youtu.be/09txc4YaT3M

Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame) is available on…

Spotify – Spotify_Gasoline
Amazon – Amazon_Gasoline
iTunes – iTunes_Gasoline
Apple Music – AppleMusic_Gasoline
Google Play – GooglePlay_Gasoline

About Sound Activism
Sound Activism is a creative partnership between artists and activists Franke James and Billiam James. They are focused on creating songs and musical stories that raise awareness about environmental, health and social justice issues.
Web: www.frankejames.com
Twitter: @frankejames and @SoundActivism

Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame)

Lyrics by Franke James and Billiam James

The love affair with gasoline is ending
Soaring costs… forcing drivers
Abandon gas-powered
No matter where you live, gasoline prices are going up

You took me for a ride, and now we’re lost
I’m choking on your pollution trip
You’re making me cough. You’re turning me off
I’m breaking this relationship

Gasoline, Gasoline
You’re driving me insane
Gasoline, Gasoline
The world’s aflame
Gasoline, Gasoline
I found someone new
Someone better
Better than you

We had a good run, but now we’re done
You’re poisoning our atmosphere
You don’t even care, pumping dirt in our air
Leading us on, the end is near

You fossil fool, I reject your rule
We gotta leave you in the ground
I’m outta the door with my foot to the floor
We gotta leave you in the ground

Gasoline, Gasoline
You’re driving me insane
Gasoline, Gasoline
The world’s aflame
Gasoline, Gasoline
I found someone new
Someone better
Better than you

Sea levels are rising
Polar bears are dying
Our children are crying

Around the world countries are racing
To phase out gasoline cars

Gotta go quick, electric
Change the way we move around
Gotta go quick, electric
Change the way we move around

I got a new love, an electric flame
With free city charging and VIP parking
Zooming past you in the HOV lane
I’m clean and green, and my love is sparking

Gasoline, Gasoline
I got a new dream
Gasoline, Gasoline
I’m going green
Gasoline, Gasoline
I found someone new
And I’m leaving
Leaving you


Created by: Sound Activism
Lyrics: Franke James and Billiam James
Music: Franke James, Billiam James and Missy D
Featuring: Missy D, Francis Arevalo, Sejal Lal & Lindal
Saxophone: Lamar Alviar
Cameos: Bill McKibben, Jennifer Granholm
Music Production: The Beat Cave, David Tallarico

Executive Producer: Coltura
Produced by The James Gang Iconoclasts, Inc.

5 Questions With Cornish Graduate Alyssa Norling

Alyssa is a theatre and movement artist currently based in Seattle. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 2015 with a BFA in Theater and a concentration in Original Works. Recent credits include A Great Hunger (On the Boards), Christmas is Burning (Café Nordo), and To Savor Tomorrow (Café Nordo). She is currently in collaboration with Jeffrey Fracé and an ensemble of diverse artists to develop Nightswimming, a new original theatre-dance-opera and is excited to tour her original performance of “The Gas Trap” with Coltura this summer.

1. What kind of artist are you and how might people know your work?

I’m a theatre artist with a background in dance. I received my BFA in Theatre with a concentration in Original Works (playwriting and directing in addition to acting), but the works that I create usually end up being heavy in movement, something I’m not able to shake after having grown up a dancer. Since graduating in 2015, I’ve performed as an actor and/or dancer at various theatres in Seattle, but Coltura’s Gas Trap is the first performance of my own creation to hit the streets.

2. What exactly was your role in building the Gas Trap?

Basically I was given two things:

1) A concept – gasoline is horrible for the environment and we need to take action right away to break our addiction to it and

2) A stage in the form of a bubble. My job was to fill that bubble with a performance that would bring that concept to the public. I daydreamed, sketched, wrote, erased, wrote again, then presented an outline of a movement-based performance to a fellow theatre artist, Grace Orr. I gave direction in each rehearsal and Grace and I worked together to polish specific moments. I tracked down all the props and costume pieces, cut and pasted material during rehearsals, then performed alongside Grace at our first performance of The Gas Trap at Westlake Park!


3. How do you feel about the end result?

I love that we presented a performance that demanded attention, raised different questions in each individual, and got so many people thinking about their use of gasoline.

4. Do you drive an electric car? If not, what do you see as your challenges or obstacles to making that switch?

I don’t personally own or drive a car but my partner does. I think we both assume we couldn’t switch to electric because of money. But we also haven’t done extensive research so maybe there is one out there we could afford to switch to!

5. Do you live a particularly green lifestyle?

Yes! When you grow up in Oregon, living green is a value that you pick up on at a very young age. Recycling, conserving, minimizing. I’ve worked for the obliteration of the use of plastic bottles of water within communities I’m a part of. My partner and I live in a very small apartment of essentials that hardly uses any power at all. We grow our own food in our tiny yard and have built our own compost bin, which turns our waste into compost for the garden. Most all of our clothing and household items have come from second hand stores. The uh-oh for us is that we do drive a gasoline-powered vehicle when we go on trips outside of Seattle. But our transportation on a daily basis is either by bus or foot.

For more about the art and artists involved with Coltura, visit us here >>

All photos by Sy Bean for KOMO 4 News / SeattleRefined.com.

Anti-Gasoline Public Art Piece To Be Unveiled in Seattle, June 2

Using public art to drive environmental activism, award-winning anti-gasoline nonprofit Coltura will take to the streets on June 2 to present The Gas Trap, a performance art piece that calls attention to the harm--and death--caused by our individual and collective use of gasoline.

The Gas Trap places performers inside an inflatable, 25-foot-high kinetic sculpture that serves as a stage and clear bubble for spectators to peer inside. The bubble is fabricated from clear window vinyl and connected by a hose to the tailpipe of a car, whose exhaust is depicted as filling the bubble while its inhabitants attempt to cope with the consequences. The Gas Trap invites viewers to explore the hazy intersection of gasoline, health, climate change, money, and guilt. Coltura will present The Gas Trap in a series of appearances throughout Seattle this spring and summer, starting June 2 at 5:30 p.m. and again at 6:05 p.m. at Westlake Park, 401 Pine Street, Seattle. All performances are free and open to the public.

Photo by Kevin Scott.

The Gas Trap was conceived by Coltura founder Matthew Metz, designed by local artist Samaj, and fabricated by Seattle's inflatable specialists, the Design Nerds. "The Gas Trap shrinks the atmosphere we live within down to the size of a room," Metz explains. "We think of our atmosphere as boundless and capable of infinite absorption, but it is in fact a bounded space that is increasingly saturated with smoke, pollution and carbon dioxide coming from cars."

The performers in the Gas Trap are left to uncover the horrible effects of the collective use of gasoline. If there is no way out, will people turn on each other? Will we face the truth of what we've allowed our environment to become or will they continue to deny reality?

The Gas Trap's kinetic element is smoke, which appears to come from the tailpipe of an actual car.  The smoke fills the trap and obscures the actors inside as we watch their world become inhospitable. The performers present an artistic vision of what it means to be human on a planet suffocating from our unnecessary reliance on gasoline.

"The Trap plays with our notions of responsibility and cruelty," Metz says. "Is the driver of the car responsible for filling the trap with smoke? Is he cruel for doing so? Or is he doing just what we all do-driving a car and emitting smoke from our tailpipe? If so, is there culpability?"

The Trap confines not only gases and people, but also the public's confused notions of responsibility that swirl around the use of gasoline, a fuel that is increasingly unnecessary due to innovations in electric cars and electric mobility.

The performance is written and directed by Cornish graduate Alyssa Norling and performed by Alyssa Norling and Grace Orr, Seattle-based theatre and movement artists who use the endless possibilities of public art for social change.

Industrial Revelation To Headline "No Gasoline Concert"

Have you heard? We just announced our newest endeavor to use public art to drive environmental activism. This time, through music with the world’s first-ever “No Gasoline Concert.” The event will feature performances from Seattle-favorites the fusion super group Industrial Revelation, along with local musicians Bad Luck and Laurie Goldston, combined with projections from video artist Kevin Blanquies. We hope to lead by example, transporting all musicians to the event without using gasoline, and encouraging all attendees to do the same!

"End Of Courtesy" composed by Ahamefule J. Oluo, led by D'Vonne Lewis, and featuring Evan Flory-Barnes, Josh Rawlings, and Ahamefule J. Oluo. One of Seattle's most sought-after bands, Industrial Revelation, performed "End Of Courtesy" live in the KPLU studios. Industrial Revelation features D'Vonne Lewis on drums, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, Josh Rawlings on keys, and Ahamefule J.

The musicians performing at this event will be transported with their gear by electric car, and event attendees are encouraged to get there by electric car, bus, bike, or on foot. Lo-Fi is well-served by public transportation, including the #8 bus from Capitol Hill, the #40 from Ballard, the C Line from West Seattle, the #70 from the University District, and the 545 from Bellevue, among others.

Like many events around town, this is going to be a lot of fun, but it’s just not worth using gasoline to attend. We realize that statement may come across as odd to the average person, but it is true – after all each gallon of gasoline we use puts 20 pounds of CO2 into the air, directly impacting all aspects of the environment we live in. We are hoping this event will help to empower other cultural institutions in Seattle and around the world begin to set No Gasoline as the standard for getting people to their events.

As a major bonus, our friends at ReachNow - a BMW car sharing service - are offering all event ticket holders a promo code for $15 drives in their electric vehicles to use the night of the event. Promo codes will be given to all ticket buyers the week of the event by email - specifically the email you use when purchasing tickets here.


No Gasoline Concert

June 30, 2017


@ Lo-Fi (429 Eastlake Ave E., Seattle) 

Tickets $7 >> http://bit.ly/NoGasConcert 


Based in Seattle, Lori Goldston is a classically trained cellist with quite the CV. Her past collaborations include Nirvana, David Byrne and Cat Power just to name a few. Lori also co-founded Black Cat Orchestra and joined the Seattle band Earth a few years back. Lori Goldston has scored and/or provided music for several films and shorts including Bass Ackwards (Linas Phillips), Humpday (Lynn Shelton), and Crashing Waves (Britta Johnson) and has also been commissioned to do live scores for several silent films. To learn more about her visit http://www.lorigoldston.com/
"RBG" performed by Neil Welch, tenor saxophone / live electronics Chris Icasiano, drums Lorraine Lau, dance Performed live for the Earshot Jazz Series "Jazz, the Second Century." Recorded July 23rd, 2015 at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle, WA. Video Footage by Jake Knapp, Wil Morrill and Peter Daniel Final editing for release by Jake Knapp Audio by Hamilton Boyce RBG composed by Neil Welch and developed with Chris Icasiano and Lorraine Lau

Art & Gasoline

Art is Coltura’s secret weapon in the fight against fossil fuels. We create symbiotic relationships with environmentally conscious artists from around the globe and proudly display their work in our Coltura art collection (www.coltura.org/art). For the month of March, we are thrilled to feature the work of Sophia Trinh, a Vietnamese American painter who blends sketching, watercolor, and natural plant materials to create stunning images that remind us of the beauty we seek to protect by living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.  Previous featured artists are painter Lucas Paints and photographer John Lewis. If you are an environmentally conscious artist and want to have your work featured on Coltura.org/art, email mnm@coltura.org.


The Emerging Anti-Gasoline Coalition

The Emerging Anti-Gasoline Coalition

A powerful new coalition is emerging to push accelerated phase-out of gasoline.   The coalition is comprised of broad sectors of the public who are demanding clean air, climate activists, clean tech businesses and enthusiasts, and people concerned about the strategic and financial consequences of oil imports.  It has the power  to break the dominance of gasoline as the country’s principal transportation fuel.

The arrival of a new generation of electric and plug-in hybrid cars makes radical reduction of gasoline use feasible.  If social attitudes and morays about personal pollution can be altered, extraordinary change in consumer buying habits and tolerance of gas taxes is possible.

Making Progress on Climate in the Trump Years

Making Progress on Climate in the Trump Years

Trump’s election is a huge setback for the transition away from fossil fuels.    Obama’s policy initiatives relating to oil and climate are very likely to be reversed.   Carbon taxes will not rise, the federal electric vehicle tax credit will be either terminated or allowed to expire, fleet efficiency standards will be lowered, and oil infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline will be given the green light.

Clearly, environmentalists must continue to defend these policies as best we can.  But playing defense is not enough:  we must also find a way to make progress during these years, so that oil consumption is less in 2020 than it is now.

Tesla’s Model 3 and the Future of Gasoline

Tesla’s Model 3 and the Future of Gasoline

The unprecedented 275,000 pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3 in the three days since its March 31 unveiling signals a tectonic shift in the dominance of gasoline as the country’s principal transportation fuel.  The stunning number of Model 3 pre-orders, more than 2.5 times the number of electric vehicles sold in 2015, suggests there is enormous pent-up consumer demand for electric vehicles offering range, performance, and affordability comparable to (or better than) equivalent gas-powered vehicles.

What does the Model 3’s early success mean for auto manufacturers, oil companies, consumers, and governments, the four pillars supporting America’s 375 million gallon-per-day gasoline consumption habit?

Interview with James Turner, Communications Head of Greenpeace

Interview with James Turner, Communications Head of Greenpeace

Matthew Metz interviewed James Turner, Communications Chief for Greenpeace about how consumer consumption patterns can be changed, and role of major environmental organizations such as Greenpeace in promoting that change.  

MM:  What is the way forward in moving consumers to curtail their gasoline usage?

JT: Greenpeace doesn’t work on the consumer side in terms of trying to change personal behaviour. You know, we sort of suggest things that people can do if they’re looking to reduce that footprint, but our attitude is very much, the most effective thing you can do is to lobby your Congressman or woman in order to change the legislation, to change the top-down measures that could, for example, increase engine efficiency or increase the use of public transport or cycling in urban centres.

So that’s very much where our focus is right now. I think that