Driving Out Pollution: How Utilities Can Accelerate the Market for Electric Vehicles

The transportation sector accounts for one-third of U.S. carbon pollution. But with the right policies, electric vehicles could transform the way America travels—while saving us money and protecting our health, environment, and economy. Currently, the electric vehicle market is primarily limited to consumers who live in single-family homes where it is relatively easy to plug in cars to charge.

If, however, charging infrastructure were expanded to multifamily buildings and places where people work and play, electric vehicles could take up a significantly larger share of the vehicle market—including low-income communities who are disproportionately exposed to air pollution and volatile gas prices. The electric industry is uniquely positioned to accelerate deployment of these charging stations, allowing more Americans to drive on a cleaner fuel at a fraction of the cost.

This is great news because, according a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences, in order to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, roughly 40 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States need to be electric vehicles by 2030.  Driving on electricity already emits on average half as much carbon pollution as the typical gasoline-powered vehicle. That advantage will only grow as renewable energy takes up a larger share of America’s electricity generation. Even better, we can use the large batteries in electric vehicles as a form of energy storage to accelerate the replacement of fossil fuel plants with wind and solar resources.