Over 90 percent of U.S. households would save on transportation energy costs by switching from gasoline-powered vehicles to EVs, a new study has determined.
The new study was authored by researchers at the University of Michigan, and was supported with funding from the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. The study leveraged a geospatial model to assess three key factors in transitioning to all-electric vehicles, including transportation energy burden, fuel costs (the cost of gasoline and the cost of electricity to charge an EV), as well as greenhouse gas emissions. The study did not include vehicle purchase cost.
Researchers calculated total energy burdens and lifetime greenhouse gas emissions for new EVs and ICE-powered vehicles at the census tract level, then compared the figures between new vehicles and current on-road vehicles, while also comparing spatial variation and the extent of energy burdens and emissions for EVs and ICE-powered vehicles across the U.S.
The results of the study found that over 90 percent of households that replace ICE-powered vehicles with EVs would realize a reduction in overall transportation energy costs, as well as overall greenhouse gas emissions. The highest savings were identified on the West Coast, as well as sections of the East and South.
However, these savings are not ubiquitous across the country, with over half of the lowest-income U.S. households (roughly 8.3 million households) experiencing higher transportation burdens, which are defined in the study as more than 4 percent of household income on filling up at the gas station or charging an EV battery.
“Our results confirm the potential for widespread benefits from EV adoption,” said study author Joshua Newell, an urban geographer at the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems. “However, EV ownership in the U.S. has thus far been dominated by households with higher incomes and education levels, leaving the most vulnerable populations behind. Policy interventions are needed to increase EV accessibility so that all Americans can benefit from the EV transition.”