Owning an Electric Vehicle could save drivers between $750 and $1,200 per year at the pump, according to a new study released this week by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report says that driving an EV is certainly more environmentally-friendly and less costly than driving either a hybrid or a gas-powered car. It also found that the car's emissions and value can vary depending on region.
As automakers continue to experiment with Electric Vehicles and other high-efficiency models, and gas prices have recently risen to nearly $5 per gallon in some parts of the country, interest in green driving is at an all-time high. President Obama has pushed for high-efficiency mandates and called for 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the roads by 2015.
But what kind of efficient vehicle makes the most sense? Should you go with an electric, hybrid, or one of the higher MPG gas-powered cars?
According to the study, State of Charge: Electric Vehicles' Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings across the United States, you might want to take a closer look at that Nissan Leaf. Researchers found that over the course of a car's lifetime, driving an Electric Vehicle could save around $4,600 and 3,300 gallons of gas over a gas-hybrid car, and nearly $13,000 and 6,100 gallons over a conventionally-powered car.
But the value might also change based on where you live. "Charging an EV in the cleanest electricity regions, which include California, New York (excluding Long Island), the Pacific Northwest, and parts of Alaska, yields global warming emissions equivalent to a gasoline-powered vehicle achieving over 70 mpg."
Nearly half of Americans live in regions that are optimal for EV use, the report says. But don't give up hope on that Toyota Prius, yet.
Nearly 40% of Americans live in regions where their EV will return the equivalent of 41-50 mpg, and nearly 20% live where their EV will return 31-40 mpg - a number lower than many hybrids, and plenty of the new breed of efficient gas cars like the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Elantra, as well. It also makes no mention of the fact that many EVs and hybrids can cost many thousands of dollars more than a conventionally-powered car, offsetting even a five-digit savings in fuel. This may be one of the reasons that two-thirds of hybrid owners do not buy another hybrid.
Still, the report says that for the most part, Electric Vehicles are the cleanest and least expensive to maintain cars you can buy. "When the electricity used to power the vehicle comes from resources such as wind and solar power, EVs can operate nearly emissions-free."
The report also offers advice on how to get the most out of your EV charge, recommending that owners switch from a standard electricity rate to a time-of-use (TOU) plan and charge their cars during non-peak hours - typically between 8:00pm-11:00am.
Do you own an Electric Vehicle? What kind of savings and energy efficiencies have you found?
Click here to read the full report and find additional information.