New Report: Electric Cars Are Cutting Pollution

Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center

Hartford, CT —More than 190,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are on America’s roads today, delivering real benefits for our health and our environment, according to a new report released today by Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center. In just the last two years, annual sales of electric vehicles have increased by 500 percent nationwide.

“Connecticut is out front in the race to get cleaner electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road,” said Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center Campaign Director Chris Phelps. “Electric cars don’t just save consumers money at the pump, they also are one of the most important tools we have to cut the carbon pollution that fuels global warming.”

The report, “Driving Cleaner: More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution,” shows that electric vehicles could prevent more than 314 thousand metric tons of carbon pollution annually in Connecticut by 2025. That’s the equivalent of saving more than 35 million gallons of gasoline per year, or eliminating tailpipe pollution from 66,000 of today’s cars and trucks.

Electric motors are much more efficient than internal combustion engines. As a result, electric-powered cars are much cleaner than vehicles that run on gasoline, even when charged with electricity from fossil fuels. As the electricity system incorporates more renewables, like wind and solar, the report says that electric cars will get steadily cleaner when compared to older non-electric cars. An electric vehicle charged completely with zero-emission energy sources like wind or solar power would produce little or no pollution.

“Our analysis shows that actions being taken by states like Connecticut are helping make electric cars as convenient, affordable, and readily available to consumers as gasoline-powered cars,” said Phelps.

In 2004, Connecticut joined a number of other states by enacting a Clean Cars law that required automakers to produce and sell increasing numbers of low-polluting cleaner cars. Subsequently, the Obama administration adopted clean cars rules nationwide. Thanks in part to these policies; most major automobile manufacturers now offer fully electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are capable of running entirely, or partially, on electricity instead of gasoline.

Building on the success of the Clean Cars program, in May of this year, Connecticut and 7 other states announced plans to get over 3.3 million new electric cars on the road by 2025. In recent years, Connecticut has seen installation of dozens of electric vehicle charging stations that enable drivers to recharge their vehicles at work, school, and when shopping anywhere in the state.

Other states, such as California and Colorado, offer tax credits as an incentive for consumers who choose to purchase electric vehicles instead of more polluting alternatives. Such policies have helped to significantly push down electric vehicle costs over the last decade.

The report also pointed out that as policies such as these increase the number of electric vehicles on the road, rising use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, will produce even greater pollution reductions from both cars and power plants. Specifically, the report found that if 25% of the nation’s electricity came from sources such as wind and solar, then over 18 million tons of carbon pollution could be cut in 2025.

“Our nation is on the road to dramatically cutting carbon pollution from our cars and trucks,” concluded Phelps. “The key is to build on the progress made over the past 10 years in states like Connecticut to accelerate the pace at which electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are getting onto our roads and highways.”


Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center is a nonprofit environmental research and policy organization.