Getting a thumbs up from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is priceless – just ask Toyota. It's right up there with the Tesla Model S gaining support from Consumer Reports in the wake of four fires.

A pilot program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center has found that electric vehicles driven by employees are reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a much higher rate than expected. "The numbers are 10 times better than we thought we'd ever see," Frank Kline with Kennedy's Sustainability office told redOrbit. "No one's ever done a pilot where you get actual numbers. It's always been estimates only."

NASA is following an executive order that all federal agencies reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By 2020, the agency wants to accomplish a 12.3-percent reduction and the EVs are playing their role. The executive order looks at everything the agency is doing, including actions somewhat outside their control such as gases produced by an airliner transporting a NASA employee somewhere or emissions from an employee's car during a daily commute. To affect some of the employee driving, NASA launched a test program to encourage employees to drive EVs. Ten Kennedy employees are able to charge their cars at work for free, and just need to fill out a spreadsheet each day documenting their trips.

Emissions caused by manufacturing the EVs at automaker plants aren't taking away the environmental gains from these cars, NASA says. "The average car puts out a pound of carbon dioxide per mile," Kline said. "We're reducing that by 3/5ths by letting you plug in at the Kennedy Space Center."

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