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Electric Vehicle “Greenness” Varies Greatly by Region

May 25, 2012

Electric vehicles in general are a great step in reducing emissions that cause global warming. The emissions from a gasoline-powered car are always greater than the emissions created to charge an electric vehicle. However, a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) suggests that the “greenness” of electric vehicles is not uniform across the country. They break down the country into regions that are good, better, and best for electric vehicles. Note there is no “bad” region in the country because electric vehicles outperform gasoline vehicles everywhere.

The UCS report, titled, “State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings Across the United States”, analyzes the electric grid in the United States and calculates the environmental and economic costs of charging an EV compared with an gasoline vehicle.

They found that 45 percent of Americans live in regions categorized as “best”, in which an EV has lower emissions than a 50 mile-per-gallon gasoline vehicle. They beat even the best hybrids in the market. These regions include areas of California and New York, where an EVs could perform as well as an 80 mpg gasoline vehicle.

“This report shows drivers should feel confident that owning an electric vehicle is a good choice for reducing global warming pollution, cutting fuel costs, and slashing oil consumption,” said Don Anair, the report’s author and senior engineer for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program. “Those in the market for a new car may have been uncertain how the global warming emissions and fuel costs of EVs stack up to gasoline-powered vehicles. Now, drivers can for the first time see just how much driving an electric vehicle in their hometown will lower global warming emissions and save them money on fuel costs.”

Regions that are dominated by coal power, EVs are in the “good” category. This means that they outperform gasoline vehicles which get an average 33 mpg.

The UCS researchers also found that EV owners can save a lot of money compared with gasoline vehicle owners. Based on electricity rates in 50 cities across the country, and gasoline at $3.50 per gallon, EV owners could save $750- $1,200 per year compared with the average new compact gasoline vehicle (27 mpg). For every 50 cent rise in gas prices, annual savings for EVs jump up $200 per year.

For more information: UCSUSA

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