There are many electric vehicle (EV) advantages, but the top benefit according to EV drivers in survey after survey is the environmental benefit of driving electric. Our friends at Third Row Podcast recently broke that out into three distinct advantages. Those advantages are that they are energy efficient, reduce air pollution, and help prevent climate change.
Driving an EV has others advantages for sure — potentially no cost for fuel, quicker acceleration, newer tech, a smooth drive quality, potentially easy home or workplace charging. I saw a tweet from Third Row Podcast in my feed the other day that made a point of reminding us just how advantageous EVs are.
There are three advantages to electric cars
1. They are more energy efficient — less energy is needed to travel the same distance
2. They reduce air pollution. Air pollution is extremely bad for your health. Under appreciated
3. Prevent Climate Change due to emissions
— Third Row Tesla Podcast (@thirdrowtesla) January 15, 2020
I wanted to elaborate on each of those points.
1. Energy Efficiency
On its website, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has a fuel calculator. I calculated the cost of an EV compared to a gasoline vehicle for Louisiana.
The average cost of gas in my state is $2.28 a gallon. In comparison, the cost of an eGallon, which is the cost of fueling an EV with electricity as compared to a car with gas, is $0.90. That’s $1.38 per gallon in savings.
In California, the cost of gas on average is $3.43 per gallon and the cost of an eGallon for EVs is $1.36 per gallon. The eGallon is determined by calculating the most recent state-by-state residential electricity prices. Perhaps this is why in Hawaii the cost of fueling with an eGallon was just $0.14 less than fueling with regular gas. This shows that Hawaii has some high electricity prices, but those should come down with more clean energy use.
These calculations do not consider whether or not you have rooftop solar (and many EV drivers do).
2. Reduction in Air Pollution
There are two categories of vehicle emissions according to Energy.gov: direct and life cycle. Direct related to tailpipes, which EVs don’t have since they don’t produce emissions directly. Life cycle emissions include all of the related emissions that come from fuel and vehicle production, fuel delivery, etc. EVs do create life cycle emissions, but according to Energy.gov, the emissions are far less than conventional vehicles since these emissions are lower for electricity generation.
The reduction in air pollution is simply a side effect of an EV — there are no tailpipes, there’s no gas to burn, and there’s no oil-dependent engine that needs constant oil changes.
3. Prevent Climate Change
First, climate change literally can’t be prevented — it’s already happening. What EVs can do is help soften the blows by keeping the temperature rise lower than it would be otherwise and hopefully one day helping to reverse is. This advantage is related to the previous ones, but it just goes to show that if we can cut out as much of our carbon footprint as possible and practical, we collectively will make an impact and perhaps lessen the severity of climate change.
I think that despite the fact that it is happening, we are seeing results when it comes to pushing awareness movements and initiatives. There are many more people who advocate for our climate, planet, and environment today than there were when I was in school.
In the end, I would retitle that third point from “prevent climate change” to “advocating awareness for green energy,” because this is something we as a human society on this planet need to be aware of. We would benefit by doing things that benefit our planet rather than harm it.
These are, I think, the top three advantages of EVs. Hopefully, within the next decade, we may be able to prevent major disasters by doing small and large things together.