Electric Vehicles: The Right Choice for Oregon

April 3, 2015 | 2:12 pm
David Reichmuth
Senior Engineer, Clean Transportation Program

Oregon is considering bolstering electric vehicle (EV) adoption with purchase incentives for consumers who want to buy or lease EVs. That would be a great idea as EVs can help Oregonians reduce both global warming emissions and fuel costs.

Electric vehicle charging at Mt. Hood, Oregon (Credit: flickr user oregondot) https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/

Electric vehicle charging at Mt. Hood, Oregon Credit: flickr/oregondot

EVs are more efficient than gasoline-powered cars and electricity prices are much more stable than petroleum prices. This means lower and more predictable fuel costs for a driver of an EV as compared to a gasoline vehicle. In Oregon, the fuel costs for driving an EV like the Nissan Leaf for 100 miles would be $3.14, based on the 2014 state average for residential electricity. In comparison the average new car (28.7 mpg) would cost $12.16 to go 100 miles based on 2014 regional average gasoline prices.

EVs in Oregon are also cleaner than gasoline cars. Electric-only EVs like the Fiat 500e and Nissan Leaf produce no tailpipe emissions, though producing electricity is responsible for some emissions. Based on the average electricity generation sources for the state, the average electric-only EV would be responsible for total emissions equal to a gasoline car that gets 75 mpg. And as Oregon electricity gets cleaner with more renewables and less coal, this benefit will only grow.

Oregon has already taken steps towards getting ready for EVs

Oregon has already taken important steps towards getting EVs on the road. The state has shown leadership, including designating a Chief EV Officer at the state Department of Transportation to coordinate EV projects. The state has also signed on to regulations that require automakers to bring EVs to Oregon. In addition, Oregon was one of 8 states that participated in a multi-state agreement to increase the number of EVs in use by increasing EVs in public fleets, developing consistent codes and standards, promoting charging infrastructure, and providing consumer information and incentives.

Oregon has already encouraged the development of infrastructure on key highway corridors. This network of chargers includes over 70 “fast DC chargers” that can provide a nearly full recharge for many EVs in 30 minutes or less. The robust network of charging stations means about 90% of the state’s population has access to fast chargers and allows access to many popular destinations.

EV chargers are available on many of the major highways and transportation corridors in Oregon. (Data source: U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fueling Station Locator)

EV incentives work and Oregon should adopt them.

EV incentive programs are working in other states. California has a purchase rebate program and is leading the nation in EV sales.  Georgia has a significant tax rebate, and in 2014 had the second highest sales of EVs in the country. Pending legislation would bring purchase incentives to Oregon, and this is a good idea. While EVs can cost more initially, they save money over the long run while lowering emissions. It’s a simple step that Oregon can take to help its citizens save on fuel costs and keep money in the local economy rather than going to out-of-state and overseas oil producers and refiners.

To learn more about how EVs are a good choice for Oregon, read our new fact sheet : “How Oregon Can Benefit from Electric Vehicles

And if you live in Oregon, you can also sign our petition to support consumer rebates for EVs.