Electric car owners in California offsetting 350,000 gallons of petroleum use per month
California is leading the U.S. in electric vehicle adoption, with over 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles in the state, representing over 35% of the total in the U.S. A new study by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) released this week shows a range of both consumer and environmental benefits.
The survey of more than 1,400 plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners (this includes both all electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, and plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-in). Car owners supplied information on vehicle usage, charging behavior and access to charging infrastructure. The survey did not directly calculate vehicle emissions, however the study organizers note that California's electricity mix is cleaner than in other states because California's electricity primarily comes from natural gas power plants, or hydro-electric systems.
The survey found that plug-in electric vehicle owners have a high rate of solar power adoption. Today thirty-nine percent (39%) of plug-in EV owners have solar panels, and another 31 percent (31%) are considering solar installations within a year. An electric vehicle owner who buys solar panels can recoup the investment more quickly because they are offsetting gasoline costs rather than electricity costs.
Eighty-five percent (85%) of the surveyed PEV owners use it as their primary car, that is the car driven most frequently, and drive on average 802 miles per month on electricity. The majority drive 15-30 miles/day (51%), with 15% driving less than 15 miles a day and 28% driving 30-45 miles per day. This figure, 94% driving less than 40 miles a day, is in line with transportation studies that the vast majority of people drive less than 40 miles a day. In turn many say this demonstrates that even the 73 mile range of the Nissan Leaf is sufficient for the vast majority of driving.
Favorable utility rates in some places mean PEV owners pay the equivalent of to $0.90 to $1.90 per gallon of gasoline to power their electric vehicles.
The current electric vehicles in California prevent the burning of 350,000 gallons of petroleum every month. This directly decreases the need for oil imports.