Driving Cleaner

More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution
Released by: Environment Maine

NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release: 10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 17
Contact: Ben McCormack, Environment Maine, 207-253-1965, ben@environmentmaine.org

New Report: Electric Cars Are Putting the Brakes on Pollution


Portland—More than 220,000 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 Maine. In just the last two years, annual sales of electric vehicles have increased by 500 percent.

The report, Driving Cleaner: More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution, shows that electric vehicles could prevent more than 101,000 metric tons of climate-changing carbon pollution annually in Maine by 2025—which is equivalent to saving more than 11.4 million gallons of gasoline per year, or eliminating tailpipe pollution from 21,000 of today’s cars and trucks.

“It’s time to charge ahead on electric cars,” said Environment Maine Organizer Ben McCormack. “It’s not just because electric cars are speedy, quiet and cool-looking – they are also one of the most important tools we have to break our dependence on oil, clean up our air, and protect our climate.”

Electric cars are cleaner than vehicles that run on oil, even when charged with coal-fired power, according to Environment Maine’s report. That’s because electric motors are much more efficient than the internal combustion engine. And as our electricity system incorporates more wind, solar and other forms of zero-emission energy, electric cars will only get cleaner. 

“I’ve driven the Nissan LEAF as my only vehicle for two and a half years, and I can say with confidence that I’ll never own a gas-powered car again,” said Marc Lausier, the first owner of a LEAF in Maine. “The LEAF uses no gas, but rather is fueled by domestically produced electricity to the benefit of the environment, national security, as well as my personal finances.”

Ultimately, an electric vehicle charged completely with wind or solar power can operate with little to no impact on public health or contribution to global warming. 

“As someone who struggles with asthma, I never take a deep breath for granted,” said Cathy Chapman, a local resident. “Zero-emissions electric cars will reduce harmful air pollution. That is something that we can all breathe easier about.”

With new advanced cars – whether a plug-in hybrid model like the Chevy Volt, or a fully electric model like the Nissan LEAF, or the Tesla Model-S – Americans can travel increasingly longer distances on electricity alone.

“To spur widespread adoption of electric vehicles, Maine should be investing in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, so that people will have multiple places to charge up their vehicle, just as we have multiple gas station options today,” said Phil Coupe, co-founder of ReVision Energy. “Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is slowly coming online in southern Maine with two Direct Current Fast Charge (DCFC) stations recently installed in Portland and South Portland. And just this week ReVision Energy installed eight electric vehicle charging stations at IDEXX laboratories in Westbrook, as one of Maine's largest employers seeks to reward employees who invest in electric vehicles.”

The report highlights key policies needed to accelerate the market for electric vehicles and make them a viable and attractive choice for more drivers, including the following:

  • Maine should follow through on the ambitious goals for electric vehicle deployment set through the Zero-Emission Vehicle program. While Maine is one of 10 states to have adopted the program, we have not joined an agreement among the states to work together to reach the goals. 
  • Maine should incorporate more wind, solar, and other renewable sources into our electricity system through the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Environment Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan, as well as by strengthening our renewable portfolio standard to require that 25 percent of Maine’s electricity come from new renewable sources by 2025.

“We’re calling on our leaders to get in the driver’s seat and make electric cars as convenient, affordable and widespread as cars currently powered by oil,” concluded McCormack. “Let’s steer toward a safer climate and a cleaner, healthier future.”

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Environment Maine is an environmental advocacy organization that works on behalf of its 20,000 members and supporters to preserve Maine’s open spaces, protect clean air and water, and steer the state toward a clean energy future. For more information, please visit www.environmentmaine.org