Electric cars a valuable but variable option

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a US-based organization, has just published a report on electric cars that tells us, surprise, that the environmental benefits of electric cars depend on where you live.

The good news is that the study finds that “Driving on electricity is a reality; it provides global warming benefits today and throughout the United States”.  It reports that “Nearly half of Americans live in regions where driving an electric vehicle means lower global warming emissions than driving even the best hybrid gasoline vehicle available.”

On the other hand, the U.S. “reliance on coal-powered electricity limits electric vehicles from delivering their full potential. Only by making improvements to our electricity grid—by decreasing the use of coal and increasing the use of clean and renewable sources of electricity—will electric vehicles deliver their greatest global warming and air pollution benefits”.

The report presents a great deal of useful analysis, including, for example, the Fueling Costs and Savings of Today’s Electric-Drive Vehicles across most major US cities. Savings range from something over $600 per year with a Chevy Volt and a San Diego, California, utility, to over $1200 per year with a Mitsubishi “i” or a Nissan Leaf in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Potential purchasers of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles need to know more about what to expect. Watch a future edition of the Gallon Environment Letter monthly edition  for more on how hybrid vehicles can save environmental and fuel costs in Canada.

The UCS report entitled State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings across the United States is available at http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/technologies_and_fuels/hybrid_fuelcell_and_electric_vehicles/emissions-and-charging-costs-electric-cars.html utm_source=SP&utm_medium=link1&utm_campaign=EV%2BReport , with an Executive Summary and appendix or http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/electric-car-global-warming-emissions-report.pdf

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