COLUMBUS, OH--More than 220,00 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are on America’s roads today, delivering real benefits for our health and our environment, according to a new report released today by Environment Ohio. In just the last two years, annual sales of electric vehicles have increased by 500 percent.
“It’s time to charge ahead,” said Nate Lotze, Ohio Field Organizer. “It’s not just because electric cars are speedy, quiet and cool-looking – they are also one of the most important tools we have to break our dependence on oil, clean up our air, improve our health and protect our climate.”
The report, “Driving Cleaner: More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution,” shows that electric vehicles could prevent more than 369,000 metric tons of climate-changing carbon pollution annually in Ohio by 2025. That’s the equivalent of eliminating tailpipe pollution from 78,000 of today’s cars and trucks.
State Representative Michael Stinziano spoke about the ability of clean vehicle technology to reduce pollution: "We as people are the root cause of climate change, but we often forget that we are also the solution."
Electric cars are cleaner than vehicles that run on oil, even when charged with coal-fired power, according to Environment Ohio's report. That’s because electric motors are much more efficient than the internal combustion engine. And as our electricity system incorporates more wind, solar and other forms of zero-emission energy, electric cars will only get cleaner. Ultimately, an electric vehicle charged completely with wind or solar power can operate with little to no impact on public health or contribution to global warming.
With new advanced cars – whether plug-in hybrid models like the Chevy Volt, or fully electric models like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model-S – "there is an electric car to suit most consumers," according to Cynthia Maves of Clean Fuels Ohio. "Ohio stands to benefit from drivers switching from gas to electric cars. Not only is there a net reduction in harmful emissions, there is a net economic impact on the state economy of $1300 per year per vehicle.”
“But we need more electric vehicles on the road,” said Lotze. “So we’re calling on our leaders to get in the driver’s seat and make electric cars as convenient, affordable and widespread as cars currently powered by oil.”
Thanks in part to smart policies adopted by states and the Obama administration, most major automobile manufacturers are now offering fully electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles powered primarily by electricity instead of gasoline.
However, there is much more that governments can do to accelerate the market for electric vehicles and make them a viable and attractive choice for more drivers. The report recommends the following:
Ohio should set ambitious goals for electric vehicle deployment. Ohio could adopt the Zero Emission Vehicle program, which would require automakers to sell more electric cars here.
State and local governments could also contribute by making it easier for people to own and drive electric vehicles. For example, Georgia offers up to a $5,000 tax credit and Colorado offers up to a $6,000 tax credit, while Washington offers a sales tax exemption for electric vehicles. Ensuring convenient access to charging infrastructure is also important.
And finally, the EPA should help clean up the electricity system by finalizing the recently announced federal carbon pollution standards for power plants, and Ohio should support and implement them.
“Let’s steer toward a safer climate and a cleaner, healthier future,” said Lotze. “Future generations will thank us for it.”