Automobiles, above all else, have historically represented America’s problem with dirty oil. A switch to plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), which require no gasoline and emit no tailpipe pollution, presents a critical opportunity to slash pollution, create American jobs, reduce oil dependence, and forever change the impact of vehicles on our planet.
WHAT IS A PLUG-IN ELECTRIC VEHICLE?
A fully electric vehicle uses electricity to power a battery. This means no gasoline, no dirty oil changes, and no internal combustion engine. Most new fully electric vehicles can drive 70-100 miles on one charge. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles run on electricity for a certain number of miles, and as their battery runs out of charge, a gasoline powered engine or generator kicks in.
Most EVs are charged at home overnight. Using a 220-volt outlet and charging unit, installed by an electrician, a plug-in hybrid recharges in about 100 minutes, and a pure electric vehicle in three to eight hours. A regular 120-volt wall outlet will significantly increase charging times, but is likely sufficient for plug-in hybrids and for fully electric vehicles for some people.
In almost in every region of the country, carbon emissions from the electricity sources used to power EVs are lower than the emissions from conventional cars (doing a full lifecycle analysis).
In some areas, like many on the west and east coasts that rely on cleaner sources of power, emissions are significantly lower for EVs. And that’s today. As we retire more coal plants and bring online cleaner sources of power like wind and solar, the emissions from electric vehicle charging drop even further.
will significantly increase charging times, but is likely sufficient for plug-in hybrids and for fully electric vehicles for some people.
WHY SHOULD I SWITCH TO A PLUG-IN ELECTRIC VEHICLE?
It’s Good for the Environment!
Each year, American passenger cars and trucks, through vehicle tailpipe and oil extraction and transport emissions, spew upwards of three trillion tons of carbon pollution into the air by burning about 121 billion gallons of gasoline. In addition to worsening climate change, our dangerous dependence on oil has resulted in countless catastrophes like the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
One caveat is that when coal supplies the vast majority of power in a given area (which is true in only a small number of US states), electric vehicles may emit more CO2 pollution than hybrid electric vehicles.
Visit www.sierraclub.org/EVGuide to learn where your electricity comes from, what plans your state or community has for shifting to renewables, and whether you have options for switching to greener power.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There is a lot you can do to help the EV Campaign!
SUPPORT H.B. 7097
The biggest thing you can do right now is express your support for House Bill 7097. This bill, which is currently under review, would allow EV manufacturers like Tesla to sell their cars in Connecticut.
Currently, CT is one of only four states in the country that only allow you to purchase a vehicle from an independent franchise dealer. However, the largest EV dealer in the country, Tesla, uses a direct sales model, cutting out the franchise middleman.
We think you should have that right to buy what you want, from who you want in CT. Essentially, the law would give Tesla (or any other EV manufacturer) the ability to open up sales locations in CT while it would continue to protect franchised dealers from unfair competition by the manufacturers that voluntarily chose to not have franchises. Not only would this help the climate by making EVs more accessible, but it would also allow for local economic growth as it would allow for new stores to open, creating jobs and investment in local communities, and bring revenue into CT that currently goes to New York or Massachusetts.
The reason that is usually given as to why this has been opposed in CT is that some believe that employment at dealerships would be adversely affected when put into direct competition with the direct sales model.
However since CT is only one of four places in the entire world that feel this way, there are ample examples everywhere that people can look at to see if this is true. In fact, a study was just completed, and their finds show that this fear is simply unfounded.
So to support this bill you can do two things:
Call your state representatives and let them know exactly how you feel about H.B. 7097. The Connecticut General Assembly website has done a good job of providing an easy to use directory. Go here to access it and find out who your representative is and what their number is!
Sign the petition that is sponsored by none other than Tesla themselves!
TELL THE GOVERNOR WHAT TO DO
The Sierra Club has a campaign initiative designed to target the governors of each state in order to urge them to pursue a path towards an EV friendly future. Become part of this here.
BUY AN EV
This one is pretty straight forward.
DONATE AN OLD VEHICLE
Donate your vehicle and support the Sierra Club Foundation. As the fiscal sponsor of the charitable programs of the Sierra Club, we provide resources to it and other nonprofit organizations to support scientific, educational, literary, organizing, advocacy, and legal programs that further our goals.
Interested in new ways to support our EV campaign in the future? No problem! You can go here to subscribe to our mailing list, after signing up we can send you up-to-date emails on when and how you can take action to make sure Connecticut is moving in the right direction!