Clean Transportation

Connecticut's transportation sector accounts for 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. 

Cars, trucks and buses and other vehicles on Connecticut roads account for the majority of greenhouse emissions produced in our state.  Nationwide, the transportation sector is accountable for 28% of all carbon emissions, and that number is growing every year.

A switch to plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), which require no gasoline and emit no tailpipe pollution, is a critical opportunity to slash pollution, create American jobs, reduce oil dependence, and forever change the impact of vehicles on our planet.

About Electric Cars

What is a plug-in electric vehicle?

A fully electric vehicle uses electricity to power a battery. A battery means no gasoline, no dirty oil changes and no more 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 electric 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. 

Emissions comparison

In almost every region of the country, carbon emissions from the electricity sources used to power EVs are lower than the emissions from conventional cars (during a full lifecycle analysis).

In some areas such the west and east coasts where there are fewer coal plants, 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.

Why should I switch to a plug-in electric vehicle?

EVs are good for the environment and they're fun to drive. They're also an instant conversation starter.

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 accelerating climate change, our dangerous dependence on oil has resulted in countless catastrophes like the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and more recently the oil train crash in the small eastern Quebec town of Lac-Megantic.

One caveat: 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.  This fact does NOT apply to Connecticut.

Visit www.sierraclub.org/EVGuide to learn where your electricity comes from, what plans Connecticut 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!

  • Tell the Governor: 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. 

Electric Buses

Electric buses are less expensive, better for public health and better for the environment. Electric school and transit bus fleets are growing rapidly around the United States and the world. They are better for the environment, but their benefits don't end there:

  • A good investment: Electric buses are more expensive to purchase, but less expensive to run and maintain. Electric charging is much more economical than fuel, and there is no need for oil changes or engine maintenance.  Studies show that over the life of an electric bus operating in Connecticut, the overall cost is less than a dirty fossil fuel burning bus.

  • Healthier: Fumes from fossil fuel burning vehicles are known to increase asthma, cancer and heart disease rates. Children’s growing lungs are especially at risk for asthma from dirty air in and around school buses. Electric buses have no tailpipes and emit no pollutants.

  • Clean air equity: Residents of Connecticut’s cities are disproportionally impacted by dirty transit buses.  Electric buses are an important step to ensuring that the air our vulnerable communities breathe is clean.

Additional reading and more information:

Paying for Electric Buses: Financing Tools for Cities and Agencies to Ditch Diesel by Matt Casale and Brendan Mahoney, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Fall 2018

Interested in new ways to support our EV campaign in the future? Sign up here to subscribe to our mailing list and we will send you up-to-date emails on when and how you can take action to make sure Connecticut is moving in the right direction!

For more information or to get involved in this effort, please contact Jeff Gross at jcgoss8@gmail.com.

Interested in new ways to support our EV campaign in the future? Sign up here to subscribe to our mailing list and we will send you up-to-date emails on when and how you can take action to make sure Connecticut is moving in the right direction!