Clean Energy Leaders Highlight How EVs are Key to Saving Families Money at the Pump as Biden Expands Standards, Charging Networks
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Joe Britton, the executive director of Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA), led a discussion with clean energy experts highlighting how electric vehicles (EVs) are key to saving consumers money and cutting climate pollution. Britton was joined by Harry Kumar from LiCycle, Robbie Orvis from Energy Innovation, and Katherine Garcia from Sierra Club.
These cost savings come at a critical time, as working people pay record-high gas prices while Big Oil executives continue raking in record profits. The Biden Administration has made expanding EVs, and their cost savings, a top priority. Just today, the Administration announced plans to build out the first-ever national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, a critical investment that will expand EV reliability and affordability. While this is a critical step in the right direction, more remains to be done. Congress must move quickly to pass meaningful climate legislation, including expanding clean energy tax credits.
Here are some key takeaways from the call:
Joe Britton, executive director at ZETA, highlighted the findings from ZETA’s new report, which show that EVs are saving consumers money now, especially in key states.
- “We profiled a number of states to really draw some conclusions of how much it is costing drivers to fuel their vehicles with gasoline versus electricity. And just as an example, I’m going to give a couple of state profiles.”
- “One is in Arizona: driving a gas-powered sedan in Arizona costs 5.7 times more per mile than driving an EV in that state.”
- “In California, if you’re driving a pick-up truck, it’s nearly 30 cents per mile to drive your vehicle with gasoline but it’s only 11 cents per mile to drive an electric pickup. It costs almost three times as much to fuel your vehicle with gasoline.”
- “If you’re in Michigan and you’re driving an electric SUV, that costs just seven cents per mile. If you stick with gasoline, and again similar to California, it will cost you three times as much to fuel your vehicle with gasoline.”
- “In Nevada, if you’re driving an electric sedan, it’s only 17% of the cost of propelling your vehicle with gasoline, so nearly five times more expensive to drive a vehicle powered by gasoline.”
- “What this is signaling to folks is an opportunity that we have to do right by consumers. [Electric vehicles are] not only good for their pocketbooks and for their family, but it’s also good for emissions reductions, important for climate change, and public health. If you’re paying attention, you see nearly every week there’s a billion-plus dollar announcement of new manufacturing corridors to make these vehicles here at home, make them an American success story. […] This is really spreading across the country. We have a true opportunity to invest and outcompete foreign commercial interests, and that’s what we’re here to talk about – the benefits of electrification for a host of different reasons.”
- “When you think about electrification, again, most people may be thinking about light-duty, but for many communities, the most important opportunity for electrification may be transit or it may be the school buses. And those are really important because that medium and heavy-duty transit space, that service transportation space, those represent only 10% of vehicle models traveled, but they’re 30% of the transportation sector’s carbon emissions and over 50% of the pollution that really impacts public health. We have a huge opportunity to not only, you know, accelerate the transition for those light-duty retail consumers, which is important and we need that to happen, but also the medium and heavy-duty and the contributions that that can make to climate change, emissions reductions, and ideally, and improvement in public health.”
Harry Kumar, director of government relations at LiCycle, explained how Li-Cycle is on the forefront of critical battery recycling processes, an industry that will boost domestic clean energy manufacturing, shore up the clean energy supply chain, and make big progress toward domestic energy security.
- “Here at Li-Cycle, we’re one of North America’s largest lithium-ion battery recyclers […] We’ve been building out facilities to make sure that we can meet this demand, and we have a hub facility where it will undergo the final hydrometallurgical process […] and be able to create battery-grade materials to put back into our domestic supply-chain. So, we’re talking about creating a closed-loop supply chain here and doing it in a safe process where there’s no liquid waste or solid waste and no harmful air-impact emissions such as PFAS, for instance.
- One of the big things about making this move towards electrification is – well, that’s a great idea, but do we have the resources, do we have the metals? And that’s why we’re combining with other parts of the supply chain to say yes, we can do this domestically. We need to be ramping up, and our big mission is to make sure that we can become that stable source that allows us to not rely on tougher foreign supply chains where there may be issues with environmental concerns or human rights concerns. That’s a big part of our mission.”
Robbie Orvis, senior director of energy policy design at Energy Innovation, broke down the actual cost of an electric vehicle, showing that EVs are cheaper to finance than gas-powered cars.
- “There’s still this public perception that EVs are out of reach for most Americans, and a lot of that comes down to the difference in sticker prices. So, this common refrain we hear that EVs might be out of reach, or are only for the elite, it’s actually just not true when you look at how Americans buy cars. So when you hear that EVs are too expensive to own, that’s not true – 85% of Americans finance their cars, and when you look at financing rates in the average term, it’s actually cheaper the day the car is driven off the lot for most EVs. That means that fuel savings for families are available today. It means that we can do our part to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to improve U.S. energy security.”
- “That finding depends critically on the federal electric vehicle tax credit […] today we have a $7,500 tax credit for most EVs … But Congress is currently considering extending, and perhaps even expanding, the EV tax credit to greater than $7,500. Our modeling finds that without that tax credit if Congress fails to extend the tax credit, it really dramatically changes the story on EVs. So, we really need those tax credits to continue this trend. And if Congress is able to extend and even expand the tax credit, we found that a $10,000 tax credit for EVs made the electric vehicle cheaper in almost every single state for the six models we looked at.”
Katherine Garcia, Sierra Club’s “Clean Transportation” campaign director, highlighted how high gas prices disproportionately impact communities of color.
- “Right now we also need to recognize that this is a much broader, systemic issue and interlocking issue. Gas prices are hitting record highs, we are all feeling it at the pump, and the DOE has reported that transportation energy burden disproportionately impacts communities of color.”
- “Needless to say, the biggest oil companies are raking in billions in profits, and Congress has spent decades subsidizing oil and gas while consistently voting against legislation that would make EVs more affordable for all Americans. It is time to change course, and charge ahead on legislation to slash pollution and save families money.”