Matthew BeedhamEditor, SHIFT by TNW
Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.
While the upfront costs of electric vehicles (EVs) might be higher than gasoline counterparts, they come with a significantly lower societal and environmental cost.
Researchers from Northwestern University, Illinois, say that the US could save as much as $70 billion if 75% of the vehicles on the road were electric vehicles, Intelligent Transport reports.
If just 25% of vehicles could be replaced with EVs, the country could save around $17 billion.
[Read: The UK takes its first step towards regulating autonomous vehicle tech]
To come up with these figures, researchers modelled what would happen if people switched to EVs using climate change data, emissions data, and public health data.
Looking at vehicle and emissions data and energy infrastructure from 2014, the researchers suggest that EVs could have mitigated the production of 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).
By extrapolating these emissions expectations, researchers were able to understand how the switch to EVs would have affected air quality across 48 states.
Based on how air quality affects health, and considering how the energy to charge these EVs would have been produced, the researchers were able to calculate a cost saving to the economy that would come about due to reduced particulate emissions, like CO2 and NOX gasses.
When governments around the world are looking to push individuals toward electric vehicles, it’s useful to understand what the opportunity costs actually are. While much is said about cutting emissions and improving health, putting a dollar value on these should make the switch to EVs even more alluring to drivers and policymakers alike.
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