New Ways to Fight Utah Air Inversions - Rocky Mountain Power

The road ahead for clean transportation

Collaboration: What Utah does best

With spectacular landscapes and over two hundred sunny days annually, it’s hard not to fall in love with Utah. And as anyone who has lived here can tell you, our crystal-clear, blue skies are part of what makes our home so wonderful.

Unfortunately, the same terrain and weather patterns that are making Utah one of the country’s fastest-growing states have also contributed to periodic air-quality problems. As it turns out, those beautiful mountain ranges can trap emissions and lower air quality. For a community that’s dedicated to outdoor recreation, these “air inversions” are a real problem.

Old-style internal combustion vehicles are a big piece of the emissions puzzle. “About half of the emissions in Utah comes from transportation,” says Deborah Burney-Sigman, co-founder of Breathe Utah. “Historically speaking, the explosion of cars has been directly related to diminished air quality. We’ve got a lot more people moving to the state, so it makes sense that the public is really focused on addressing this problem.”

And that’s a good thing, because if there’s one thing the people of Utah know, it’s that we can work wonders when we all work together.

That’s why Rocky Mountain Power is proud to spearhead the creation of Live Electric, an innovative collaboration with the Department of Energy, Utah State University, Breathe Utah and a number of other state and local organizations that are dedicated to finding creative, effective ways to speed the transition to a clean transportation future.

In other words, Live Electric is all in for powering our modern lives while protecting what we in Utah hold dear.

With thousands of new electric vehicles hitting the streets every year…this investment couldn’t come at a better time.

How does Live Electric work?

For starters, Rocky Mountain Power has installed charging stations, including fast chargers, along I-15, I-80 and I-70 highway corridors as part of Live Electric. This infrastructure means that today’s EV owners can experience Utah’s iconic ski resorts and national parks without worrying about running out of battery life. On the way to Zion National Park, for example, EV drivers can quickly recharge at Maverik stations in Santaquin, Fillmore, Cedar City and Washington.

At local workplaces, Live Electric is making it easier for businesses to install charging stations. Packsize International in Salt Lake City has taken the lead in creating the largest electric vehicle charging installation in Utah. The packaging solution company installed 50 Level 2 chargers at its headquarters for use by its employees and the public. More than $110,000 in incentives from Rocky Mountain Power helped pay for the equipment.


Live Electric is also pioneering programs to assist fleet operators and ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to convert to electric vehicles. And right on the horizon, the state of Utah has partnered with Rocky Mountain Power to invest up to $50 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The investment facilitates an electrified highway and interstate system for the entire state, including rural areas, and adds more fast-charging capability in urban areas for light-duty trucks and commercial fleets. The aim is to make public chargers more available, easing “range anxiety” and encouraging more Utahns to make the switch to an electric vehicle.

These are huge steps forward for Utah’s air quality and, ultimately, for the quality of life in a place we’re proud to call home.

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