Electric Vehicles Good for Environment, Save Money. Cars. Published on April 1. Zachary Shahan. April 1.
Zachary Shahan Electric cars produce zero emissions themselves, but even if you don’t have solar panels and you get your electricity from the grid, driving an electric car results in fewer emissions than driving a gasmobile or conventional hybrid in almost every case. Electric cars themselves produce zero emissions when driven, but even if you factor in the emissions from electricity produced in your region that is utilized to power your electric car, it’s extremely likely your electric car is cleaner than a Toyota Prius. Furthermore, these emissions are not “local” — they’re likely not occurring in your neighborhood, in your town, or in your city.
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Of course, if you have solar panels on your roof that produce as much electricity as you use, you are essentially driving on sunshine and producing no emissions from any source when you drive. It’s also important to remember that the grid is getting cleaner every day, so electric cars charged from the grid will just keep getting cleaner and cleaner. For responses to other anti- cleantech myths, see: Anti- Cleantech Myths Debunked (Your #1 Resource). Update [April 1. 2, 2. The key UCS study this article is about has been updated.
With the grid getting cleaner and cleaner, naturally, the update shows that electric cars are even greener today (when charged on the grid). You can read our summary of the update here.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has completed what is the most comprehensive study to date on the financial and environmental costs (or, more appropriately, savings) of electric vehicles.“No matter where one lives in the United States, electric vehicles (EVs) are a good choice for reducing global warming emissions and saving money on fueling up, according to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS),” the UCS writes. For years, EV critics have claimed that EVs don’t reduce carbon dioxide or other global warming emissions because they burn electricity from coal and natural gas power plants. While drivers in regions with a lot of fossil fuel power will not cut emissions as much as drivers in regions with a lot of clean energy power plants, no matter where someone lives in the US, driving an EV is cleaner than driving a gasoline- powered car, according to the “State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings Across the United States.”Notably, UCS also calculates how much EV drivers save in “fuel” costs — a lot.
Neither of these findings is at all a surprise to me, as one of our key EV writers has shown in the past that the cost of electric vehicles and their environmental costs are lower than conventional automobiles, but this UCS study is more comprehensive than anything we’ve seen to date. Saving Money by Driving an EVEverywhere in the country, an EV driver also saves money every time she or he “refuels” — compared to what they’d spend refueling a gasoline- powered vehicle.“Based on electricity rates in 5. United States, the analysis found drivers can save $7. Higher gas prices would mean even greater EV fuel cost savings. For each 5. 0 cent increase in gas prices, an EV driver can expect save an extra $2. Time of Use (TOU) electricity pricing, which many regions have or are implementing, allows a driver to maximize those savings, since they cam access cheaper electricity at night when they are likely charging their vehicles. Regional Differences for EV Emissions.
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More good news is that most Americans live in the ‘best’ regions for driving an EV. UCS notes: “nearly half (4. Americans live in ‘best’ regions where an EV has lower global warming emissions than a 5.
In places like California and most of New York, EV’s environmental performance could be as high as an 8. How about the worst region? Well, even in the dirtiest (when it comes to electricity) region of the US — some parts of the Rocky Mountains region — driving an EV is better than driving most other cars. In parts of the Rocky Mountains region, driving an EV produces global warming emissions equivalent to a gasoline vehicle with a fuel economy rating of 3.
Also, notably, clean energy is increasing while dirty energy is getting shut down, all across the US.“The good news is that as the nation’s electric grids get cleaner, consumers who buy an EV today can expect to see their car’s emissions go down over the lifetime of the vehicle,” said Don Anair, the report’s author and senior engineer for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program. Bottom Line: Driving an EV is Better for the Environment than Driving a Gasoline- Powered Car. That’s the take home message, and if you ever run into a commenter saying otherwise, be sure to direct them to this post or the report linked above.“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 Anair. 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.”EVs Getting Popular. EV models are coming to market this year, and many more are on the drawing board. If you’ve been a Clean. Technica reader for a long time, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve increased our EV content a ton in the past year. I used to never write on EVs, and other writers hardly touched them, but with a few pioneering models hitting market, their clear environmental benefits, and a lot more EVs on the way, we have increased our coverage of these clean(er) vehicles considerably (and we’re now a top site for car coverage, according to Technorati). Of course, EV’s are not as efficient or green as bicycling, walking, taking the train, or riding a motorcycle or scooter (especially an electric motorcycle or scooter) in most places, but for those who are going to stick with an automobile over one of the above options, EVs are the way to go.
Also, while EVs are greener than gasoline- power cars, we certainly need to keep maximizing their green factor by switching our grid over to a clean energy rather than primarily dirty energy grid. And for those of you interesting in doing so, there are a lot of options out there for going EV and going solar at the same time!
Source: UCSImages: GM; Nissan Leaf courtesy of shutterstock; Ford; Wikimedia Commons; Fisker; De. Lorean Motor Company; Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector- specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter. Tags: electric vehicles costs, electric vehicles emissions, electric vehicles environment, electric vehicles fuel savings, electric vehicles greenhouse gas emissions, electric vehicles savings, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, ucs. About the Author. Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time.
He spends most of his time here on Clean. Technica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas.
Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert.
If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media: Zachary. Shahan. com. Zach has long- term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB.
After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these companies and feels like they are good companies to invest in.