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Electric Vehicles Helping Drivers To Reduce Their Bills

Over 90% of vehicle-owning US households could slash their greenhouse gas emissions as well as their transport costs by switching to electric vehicles.

  • 90% of vehicle-owning US households could reduce their bills as well as their carbon footprint by switching to electric vehicles.
  • 85 million households could halve their transport bills by going electric compared to just 25 thousand households if they switched to newer, gasoline-fueled cars.
  • Adopting an electric vehicle would more than double the number of US households with low transport costs, spending less than 2% of their annual income on transport fuels.

Drivers in Washington, California, and New York are set to see the greatest reductions in transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions due to a combination of cleaner power grids and low electricity prices in comparison to gasoline prices, among other factors.

Over 90% of vehicle-owning US households could slash their greenhouse gas emissions as well as their transport costs by switching to electric vehicles. A study maps the change in annual income spent on transport fuels for vehicle-owning US households upon adopting electric vehicles.

US households are highly dependent on private vehicles, with over 80% of journeys taken via personal cars. These journeys are not only bad for the environment and public health, but they are also expensive: around 67% of US households are currently considered to have medium-to-high travel costs, spending greater than 2% of their annual income on transportation.

Joshua Newell, co-author of the study and Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, says: “As the need for decarbonisation becomes increasingly urgent, it is crucial that we identify where and how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting with assessing the long-term affordability of electric vehicles. Our results show that not only are electric cars better at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in most cases, they are cheaper to run too.”

Study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of switching to electric vehicles in comparison to new gasoline-fuelled vehicles, for different regions across the United States. The results show that 71% of US drivers could halve their transport bills by going electric. In comparison, just 0.02% of drivers would see the same reduction in fuel costs by switching to newer, gasoline-fuelled cars.

Moreover, the team found that adopting an electric vehicle would more than double the number of US households with low transport costs, spending less than 2% of their annual income on transport fuels. Nationwide, this equates to over 80% of vehicle-owning households.

Figure 3. Change in high, moderate, and low energy burden households from the current vehicle stock [44] to a new BEV. The seven income bins are shown on the far left and far right to show the change in household distribution for each income level. AMI = area median income; BEV = battery electric vehicle.

“Our research contributes to the topic of energy justice, ensuring participation in the energy system is equitable, affordable, and accessible for all. We are hopeful that this study will inform people on where significant, affordable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can be made. For the majority of people, the ongoing fuel cost of electric vehicles will be even lower than adopting newer, more efficient gasoline vehicles. However, the prominent differences across the nation emphasize the need for a regional approach to electric vehicle transitions,” concludes Jesse Vega-Perkins, lead author of the study.

Figure 2. Geographic distribution of average transportation energy burdens, census tract level. (a) Energy burdens for the current on-road vehicle stock from [44]. (b)–(e) Energy burdens and percent changes from current energy burdens for a new BEV and a new ICEV. BEV = battery electric vehicle; ICEV = internal combustion engine vehicle.

Journal Link: Environmental Research Letters

By Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing

 
 
 
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