Charging Forward

The Emergence of Electric Vehicles and Their Role in Reducing Oil Consumption


Environment Washington

America’s reliance on gasoline-powered vehicles has long contributed to air pollution, including global warming emissions, and our nation’s dependence on oil. In the past decade, however, the automobile market has begun to change, integrating new technologies that are dramatically less dependent on gasoline. Hybrid electric vehicles, powered in part by energy stored in a battery, have become increasingly popular.

Now, fully electric vehicles, with zero direct emissions, are emerging as a market-viable alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles. For the first time in the history of the modern automobile industry, vehicles that do not run on oil have started to appear on American roads, signaling the beginning of the end for the monopoly of the internal combustion engine.

Electric vehicles have arrived and will provide extensive environmental benefits. Increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road will yield even greater cuts in pollution and oil use.

More than 30,000 electric vehicles are already on the road in the United States, and more are coming soon. Dealers sold 17,000 electric vehicles in the first year that they were on the market, far exceeding the 9,300 hybrids sold the first full year those vehicles were available, and nearly matching the 20,000 hybrids sold in the first two years hybrids were on the market. In 2012, sales of electric vehicles through May are on pace to show tremendous growth over 2011.