Ask anyone who owns an electric vehicle, or EV, why they bought it and you’ll probably get more than one answer. Some will say it’s the lower cost of electricity versus gasoline. Others will tell you they enjoy the convenience of charging their cars in their garage or at the office. But the one reason that stands above all others is a concern for the environment. According to a survey by AAA, 80% of those asked gave the environment as their primary motivation for buying an EV.
Even though EVs themselves produce no emissions, the electricity that runs them may come from power plants that put some in the air when the electricity Is generated. Calculating the environmental impact of driving any vehicle uses a “Well to Wheel” formula, so named because it accounts for emissions from the time fuel is produced from the ground until it’s used to power the car. The impact varies from state to state, depending on the mix of fuels used to generate electricity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s calculator, an EV in California will produce about one-sixth of the annual emissions of a gasoline-powered car.
But if saving the planet isn’t enough, there are plenty of other good reasons for buying an EV:
- Electricity is cheaper than gasoline. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the cost of an “eGallon” – the amount of electricity that equates to a gallon of gasoline in terms of driving range – is about half the price of gasoline. In California, a gallon of regular gasoline currently averages $3.92 while the equivalent amount of electricity averages $1.81.
- Maintenance costs are lower. EVs don’t need oil changes or tune ups, and there are fewer moving parts that may need to be repaired or replaced. With no emissions, there’s no muffler, tailpipe assembly or catalytic converter to worry about.
- You can charge your EV at home. Many EV owners use a Level 1 charger that plugs right into an electric outlet in their garage. Charging your EV overnight means you’re good to go in the morning.
- The public charging network is growing. There are now more than 23,600 public charging stations with over 70,000 outlets across the country, according to a U.S. Department of Energy survey – and that number is climbing every day. California has more than 5,600 of those stations with over 22,000 outlets.
- There’s a wide range of models. You can find an EV in the size and style that fits your needs. Want something luxurious? How about the Tesla Model S. Need an SUV for the family? There’s the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Feeling a bit sporty? Take a spin in a Jaguar I-PACE.
Whether you’re an environmentalist or simply interested in saving money, there are no bad reasons for choosing to buy an electric vehicle.