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Garfield County to install paid EV charging stations at Rifle admin building

An electric vehicle charging station in front of a government building in Rifle.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Garfield County will now charge money for the convenience of charging electric vehicles at the county’s Rifle administration building.

The county recently secured an $18,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office to replace the four existing electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations at the county building, located on West 14th Street in Rifle. 

The current stations are six years old, and only two are functioning, county Facilities Director Frank Coberly said before the county commissioners at their Monday meeting in Silt.



Grant money is to be used to replace the chargers with newer, Level 2 technology dual chargers. 

But, a proposed add-on also approved by the commissioners will include the capacity to accept credit cards, so the county can recoup electricity costs.



“I do get calls from people asking why we are giving away free electricity to people who have electric vehicles,” Commissioner Mike Samson said. “I have to tell them it’s because we have no way to charge, currently.”

The extra cost to install the paid charging stations is approximately $29,200, as opposed to around $9,200 for the non-paid stations, according to the options explained by Coberly.

But, the county would be able to recoup anywhere from $15 to $30 from each user, depending on whether they need a partial or full charge.

The Level 2 chargers take somewhat longer than the Level 3 fast chargers, about 12-24 hours as opposed to 40-80 minutes. The fast chargers are more common closer to interstates and other major highways, where travelers are looking for a quicker charge, Coberly said.

The Level 3 chargers would cost about $66,200 for the county to install.

Commissioners opted for the Level 2 chargers at the county building, noting that most of the users at that location tend to leave their vehicles plugged in for multiple hours.

The ability to charge was agreed upon, as well. The county will pick up the remainder of the installation cost aside from the grant.

The stations will also be moved from the current location in front of the building to the southwest corner of the parking lot. Commissioners said they prefer to reserve the more convenient up-front parking spaces for people needing to do quick business with the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office that’s located in the Rifle building.

While some local governments and other public entities have chosen to subsidize the cost for EV users to charge their vehicles at no charge, fee-based Level 2 and 3 stations are becoming more common, said Martin Bonzi, transportation manager for Carbondale-based nonprofit Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER), which administers the intergovernmental Garfield Clean Energy programs.

The typical fee is between 10 cents and 15 cents per kilowatt hour and is aimed at recovering energy costs for the owners of the charging stations. 

Free Level 2 charging stations are still scattered around Garfield County, offered by municipal governments, as well as at Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) park-and-rides and Colorado Mountain College (CMC) campuses.

Currently, those include two at CMC in Rifle, six in New Castle, one at the Parachute rest area, 16 throughout Glenwood Springs, 10 at the Holy Cross Energy building south of Glenwood and 11 in Carbondale, according to a list compiled by Coberly.

State imposes EV fees 

The state of Colorado is also looking to recoup some of the loss in state gasoline tax dollars due to the increase in use of EVs by adding an extra fee on the registration of such vehicles.

Bonzi said EV owners now must pay an annual fee of $50 for a special decal, in addition to other registration fees. The fee can be adjusted every year for inflation, he said. 

In addition, the state can now collect a road-usage equalization fee for both EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at the time of registration. That fee is set to increase over the next 10 years from $4 for EVs and $3 for hybrids this year, to $96 and $27, respectively, by fiscal year 2031-32, Bonzi said.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.


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