Portland, Maine —With the right policies in place, plug-in vehicles can reduce oil dependence in Maine by more than 542,000 gallons per year, according to a new report released today by Environment Maine.
“It’s time to plug in, power up, and protect our planet because plug-in vehicles have arrived here in Maine,” said Ben Seel, Clean Energy Organizer at Environment Maine.
According to the Environment Maine report, Charging Forward: The Emergence of Electric Vehicles and Their Role in Reducing Oil Consumption, 2,300 drivers in Maine could purchase their first plug-in vehicle within the next three years. Overall these vehicles will reduce Maine’s carbon pollution by nearly 3,500 metric tons per year. If the plug-in vehicles are powered by clean sources of electricity, these savings will rise to over 9,600 metric tons per year.
Pollution and oil savings benefits were found by comparing the pollution produced and oil burned by a conventional population of cars to the pollution produced and oil burned by the projected population of electric cars. Electric vehicle rollout estimates are from the Center for Automotive Research.
“To tackle Maine’s oil dependence and global warming, ReVision Energy is investing in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure so that Mainers can get there from here without burning a drop of fossil fuel,” said Phil Coupe, co-founder of ReVision Energy.
“For decades, owning a car has meant consuming oil. Today, drivers finally have a choice,” said Seel. “Thanks in part to smart policies in Maine and from the Obama administration, every major automobile manufacturer is offering a new plug-in vehicle powered primarily by electricity. For the first time, we can power our cars with clean energy.”
“The owners that I have spoken with have all been very happy with their electric vehicles, and their reduced dependence on oil,” said Adam Lee of Lee Auto Malls.
In 2011, Maine adopted ambitious goals to reduce its oil dependence by 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050 (LD 553). The Office of Energy Independence and Security must develop a plan, with input from stakeholders, to achieve the targets and submit it to the Legislature by December 1, though work on the plan has not yet begun. “Any plan to get Maine off of oil must include putting our foot on the accelerator of plug-in vehicles,” said Seel.
In Washington, President Obama has proposed fuel efficiency standards that Environment Maine credits as being the most important step ever taken to build clean, advanced technology cars that will get us off oil. The administration is expected to finalize the new standards this summer. His administration has also made investments in critical technologies, such as advanced batteries and high powered charging stations.
Maine’s clean cars program has helped ensure that Maine drivers continue to have a choice between vehicles powered by oil and advanced, high-tech vehicles powered by clean energy. Maine will soon have the opportunity to build on this program by adopting new rules to require that 15% of vehicles sold in Maine be Zero Emission Vehicles.
This year, Maine will have an opportunity to build on this critical program by adopting new rules that will help us build over 1.4 million electric vehicles by 2025.
The Environment Maine report shows the impressive technological breakthroughs that have helped move plug-in vehicles into the fast lane, from advanced batteries that have dropped in price by over 80 percent, to super-fast charging stations that have reduced charge times by over 90 percent.
To make plug-in vehicles a choice for more consumers, Environment Maine’s report calls for more work to be done to build the infrastructure of the charging stations that can service these vehicles, as well as more investment in the technologies that will drive down prices. Currently, Maine ranks 43rd in the country in total number of vehicle charging stations. Environment Maine also called on state and federal leaders to help plug-in vehicles achieve the greatest possible pollution reductions by adopting policies that will ensure we get more of our electricity from clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
“Maine’s high percentage of renewable power generation coupled with our over reliance on fossil fuels in the transportation sector, which generates our largest source of carbon emissions and energy costs in the state, make EVs a very attractive choice for consumers,” said Steve Linnell, Coordinator, Maine Clean Communities.
“Electric vehicles offer all Americans hope for a cleaner, healthier future. But to make this promise a reality, continued public investment will be necessary to ensure that these vehicles are as convenient and as affordable as cars powered by oil,” concluded Seel.
Environment Maine is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.