The United States imports varying amounts of its petroleum, much of which is used in the transportation sector. Passenger vehicles currently account for 55 percent of the energy used by the on-road transportation sector. However, it is possible to see these percentages significantly decline through the incorporation of PHEVs and EVs.

PHEVs, such as the Toyota Prius, use electricity produced from coal, nuclear, natural gas, and renewable sources, in addition to gasoline for longer distances. EVs, like the Chevy Bolt and the Nissan LEAF, only use electricity produced domestically. Therefore, no petroleum imports are needed to fuel these vehicles and the nation becomes more energy secure.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Local Air Quality
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, personal automobiles are collectively the single greatest polluter in our country. Even with advances in catalytic converter technology, petroleum powered cars continue to release pollutants into our communities through tailpipe emissions. Because these emissions are released at the street level, they negatively impact the air that we breathe on a daily basis.

All-electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF and the upcoming Rivian R1T pickup truck, are zero-emission vehicles that do not contribute to local air pollution. It should be noted that some portion of the electricity used to power electric vehicles is produced at energy facilities (e.g. coal-fired power plants) that do pollute through emissions. However, those emissions are released at the point of production, which is typically located far from populated areas.

Ability to "Green the Electric Grid"
EVs pull their fuel from the electric grid, which is a greener alternative than imported oil. Electricity generation is directly influenced by local, state and national public policy and regulation. The same cannot be said about imported oil, which is not under our direct control.

Over the last several decades, public policy has helped to reduce emissions produced by power plants. In recent years there has been a big push to support renewable energy sources, which are now producing a growing percentage of our country's electricity. This trend toward "greening our electric grid" will further reduce the environmental impact of EVs.

A Need for Increased Electricity Production?
A common concern with EVs is that their widespread deployment will lead to the need for more energy production facilities in the United States. However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, America's power grid could accommodate converting approximately 84 percent of all conventional vehicles to EVs right now. How is that possible? Because the primary time to charge EVs will be off peak, when there is excess capacity and waste in the electric grid. The U.S. Department of Energy study also excluded the contribution of renewable electricity production, which is growing rapidly and producing a higher percentage of electricity in the grid. Therefore, it is not expected that EVs will create a need for new or expanded energy facilities any time in the near future.


Impact of EV Batteries in the Waste Stream
Conventional vehicles use a lead-acid battery, which is highly toxic and damaging to our environment. Even with its low value as scrap, the recycling rate for lead-acid batteries is reported to be approximately 98 percent in the United States.

Most EVs use advanced battery chemistries with metals such as Nickel and Lithium Ion. These metals are more valuable than lead, and since the batteries are quite large, the value of the spent battery packs will be such that the recycling rate is expected to approach 100%. This fact, combined with government regulation of battery disposal, will help ensure EV batteries do not have a negative impact on our environment.
A successful community needs an efficient and flexible transportation system. This includes accommodations for diverse transportation alternatives such as electric vehicles.

During the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama stated his goal of having one million EVs on America's roads by 2015. Today, that goal has been met. While projections vary, it is clear that more and more EVs will be on the roads across the nation within the next few years.

EVs may not be a viable solution for all drivers or businesses. For some, an EV will be limited to in-town driving and daily commutes of 100 miles or less. Many industry experts see EVs serving as a secondary car for families, primary cars for people not frequently traveling outside their community, and fleet cars for local businesses.

The EVTown initiative is designed to prepare our community for the rapidly growing EV industry. This forward-thinking strategy will make our community more attractive to emerging businesses and their employees, thus strengthening our economic base. It will complement the many other environmental initiatives already underway, and it will enhance economic opportunities and the quality of life for our residents.

Although EVs may not be a viable solution for all drivers or businesses, many industry experts see EVs serving as a secondary car for families, primary cars for people not frequently traveling outside their community, and fleet cars for local businesses.

For those who see EVs as a viable option, there are several reasons why they could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicle. Those reasons include:

  • Significant purchase incentives that may reduce your vehicle purchase by $7,500 or more
  • Fuel savings of several hundred dollars per year
  • Maintenance savings due to fewer moving parts and less preventative maintenance obligations

For more information on how EVs can offer financial savings to you or your business please visit the Incentives and Operating Cost pages.

Click on a category below to learn more about the impact of EVs.

EV Future
Energy Security
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