EVs , cities and costs

Greenercars.org can help you calculate your car costs

We tip our hat to Jim Gorzelany, Senior Contributor Cars & Bikes at Forbes – his January 14 article, “Here’s What It Costs To Run An Electric Car And Its True Environmental Impact In Five U.S. Cities” had our attention from the moment we saw the title. And the paragraphs that followed didn’t disappoint.

Per Gorzelany’s article, what you will actually pay to drive a given number of miles per year depends on at least a couple of factors:

  • how much your local energy provider charges per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity
  • how a utility generates power (more environmentally friendly when driven where renewable energy resources are prevalent, and less so where fossil-fueled electric plants are most common.)

For the Forbes’ article, Gorzelany employed a calculator from greenercars.org, a website provided by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

The ACEEE provides a little background about the calculator on its website:

Electric vehicles (EVs) are commonly referred to as “zero emission vehicles”, meaning they emit no criteria pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions during use. However, sourcing and distributing the electricity required to operate an EV generally results in significant emissions. Therefore, knowing how the electricity is created is important.

Electricity can be created from a number of resources, including coal, natural gas, petroleum, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, biomass, and more. ACEEE’s greenercars.org currently scores EVs and PHEVs based on the national average electricity generation mix. However, electricity generation is not uniform across the U.S. To account for these differences, ACEEE has developed a calculator that will help potential electric vehicle buyers and existing owners understand the true impact of EVs in their region. The calculator adjusts the national Green Score of an electric vehicle based on the difference between the national average grid mix and the grid mix in the chosen region. This regional grid mix is determined by the zip code entered into the spreadsheet. This zip code is also linked to local gasoline and electricity prices.

Using the ACEEE calculator, Gorzelany was able to determine the annual cost and “green scores” for five different electric vehicles:

  • BMW i3
  • Chevy Bolt
  • Jaguar i-pace
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Tesla 3

in the five cities with some of the largest EV markets in the U.S.:

  • Los Angeles CA
  • Portland ME
  • Baltimore MD
  • New York City NY
  • Portland OR

Gorzelany’s article has results for all combinations of those options, Live somewhere else? Interested in a different car?  Download the spreadsheet for yourself and calculate your own figures!  It’s available at MY2019 Regional EV Calculator – April Update.xlsx    One final advisory from thee ACEEE – “Note that the calculator thus far doesn’t account for when the chosen electric vehicle is charged during the day nor seasonal variations in the electrical grid. ”  So some of your savings and costs may be within your control, even without trading in your vehicle or moving to a new city.

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