Nevada Could Reap $21 Billion Driving on Electricity

What would happen if Nevadans ditched gasoline to drive on cleaner, cheaper electricity? A new report from MJ Bradley & Associates—commissioned by NRDC, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and Western Resource Advocates—answers this question, demonstrating Nevada could realize $21 billion in avoided expenditures on gasoline and maintenance, reduced utility bills, and environmental benefits by 2050 by driving electric vehicles (EVs). Thankfully, the state is currently moving to adopt Clean Car Standards that will ensure automakers sell EVs in the state.

$14.1 Billion in Driver Savings

EVs save families money because driving on electricity is significantly cheaper than driving on gasoline. Furthermore, EVs have fewer moving parts and less required maintenance—no oil changes, no transmissions, no mufflers, no timing belts, etc. This means that tackling the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution, transportation, could save Nevadans over $14 billion by 2050 because EVs are cheaper to fuel and maintain than gas powered cars.

These are savings Nevadans can bank on because electric rates are inherently more stable than gasoline prices. Electricity is made from a diverse supply of domestic and increasingly clean resources. And, unlike the volatile world oil market, electric rates are regulated by state public utility commissions.

$3.6 Billion in Reduced Electric Bills

Nevadans can charge millions of EVs without the need to make significant investments in the electric grid. This is because EVs can be charged when the grid is underutilized and renewable energy is abundant, like overnight, when people are sleeping and wind energy generation is often peaking. The billions of dollars in new utility revenue from EV charging in excess of associated costs could reduce every utility customer’s electric bill.

Such estimates of potential future benefits are credible because they comport with what’s already been observed in the real world. Between 2012 and 2019, in the two utility service territories with the most EVs in the United States, EV drivers contributed more than $800 million in net-revenue— money that’s already been returned to all customers in in the form of lower rates and bills.

$2.8 Billion in Societal Benefits from Reduced Pollution

Widespread EV adoption would dramatically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and also cut emissions of NOx, a local pollutant that threatens the health of all Nevadans, especially children and people with respiratory conditions. The MJ Bradley report finds growing the state’s EV market to meet Nevada’s long-term environmental goals would yield $2.8 billion in societal benefits, a metric that captures this pollution reduction and the associated health improvements.

The Bottom Line: Nevada Should Act Now to Accelerate its EV Market

Adding it all up, that’s about $21 billion in potential benefits to Nevada by 2050 by getting more clean cars on the road. Here’s the catch: today, there are only 8,000 or so EVs in the state, which means Nevada needs to accelerate its EV market to capture billions of dollars in potential benefits. Thankfully, with second generation, longer range, affordable EVs now available, the market is well positioned to expand rapidly as the state moves to adopt Clean Car Standards that will ensure more EVs are available for purchase in the state.

About the Authors

Max Baumhefner

Senior Attorney, Climate & Clean Energy Program

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