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The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Blog

The Regional Value of Electric Vehicles in the Northwest: Economic and Environmental Benefits

July 19th, 2016 · No Comments · Energy, Transportation

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By Ben Kujala – NW Power and Conservation Council
Reposted with permission from the NW Council Blog
Originally posted July 18th, 2016

Improving the regional economy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and helping advance technology are three benefits to the region from investing in electric vehicles. While electric vehicles may not make sense for everyone, there are many instances where electric vehicles can substitute for gas-powered vehicles.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council discussed the economics and environmental impacts of electric vehicles at its July meeting in Olympia, Washington.electric-car-1458836_1280

A conservative estimate showed by 2035 we could keep $2 billion dollars per year in the region. The main savings comes from reducing the amount of gasoline that is purchased from producers outside the region. While the initial cost for an electric vehicle can be more expensive, the fuel savings more than make up for the extra expense. Electric vehicles also generally require less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles.

Policies that encourage electric vehicles could also reduce regional carbon dioxide emissions; by 2035 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year could be avoided by increasing electric vehicle use.

Investing in electric vehicles also directs resources to technologies that go beyond just transportation. Battery technology is rapidly evolving, with implications for everything from devices to energy storage.

Increasing the number of electric vehicles in the region does potentially increase the need to invest in our electric system. But the economic and environmental benefits justify that investment in our generating and transmission resources. The Council will continue to evaluate and adapt our plans to make sure our regional electric system is well prepared to respond to this evolving technology.

Looking at the current technology and economics, policies that encourage electric vehicles already pay off. As technology improves, the value only increases, creating a win-win opportunity for our region’s consumers and utilities.

Editor’s Note: to learn more about the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s recent meeting discussing the economic and environmental impacts of EVs in the Pacific Northwest, take a look at the Council’s memorandum which delves quite a bit deeper into the above findings and includes key stats and figures.

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