Plug-in vehicles, battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids are cutting US gasoline use by 45 million gallons a year, which means Americans are already saving $100 million a year in refueling costs thanks to EVs. Now, imagine how those savings might look if startups like Aptera, Coda Automotive and Fisker Automotive had created hits instead of flops.

Those numbers come from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which calculates that there are almost 200,000 plug-in vehicles on US roads, with all but about 30,000 bought within the past three years. Unsurprisingly, Californians are the most enthusiastic buyers, accounting for 46 percent of new plug-in vehicle sales. That means Golden State residents, who doubled their plug-in vehicle purchases last year, are spending $40 million less on fuel than they'd otherwise spend. Of course, plug-ins tend to cost more to purchase than their gas-only counterparts, but either way, the UCS believes these results are "encouraging."

Plug-in vehicle sales in the US last year came up just short of the 100,000-unit mark, with EV sales rising 90 percent to 99,827 vehicles. The Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S battery-electric vehicles combined to account for about two-thirds of those sales, with Leaf sales doubling last year and Tesla sales jumping by a factor of eight. Despite the increases, plug-in vehicle sales can't compare to the more than 234,000 units of the four Prius variants that Toyota sold last year.


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  • 180 Comments
      vimish
      • 8 Months Ago
      Such a noble effort. Such a tiny fraction of savings. So terribly ironic. If driving under 15,000 miles annually the difference between 20 mpg and 25 mpg hardly adds up to a real dollar savings (about $10/week). I think everyone will get real serious about fuel economy when gas exceeds $8 per gallon. Even with a diesel, the math is barely positive after the fuel premium, additional filters, and fluids - again, at under 15,000 miles. And running out of petro in this generation is unlikely (more is found every day). Very sadly, electric vehicles could well remain in the domain of near exotic leagues for the near term. The entire industrial economy is too entrenched in petro to change. Some sad math - costs of driving 15k annually : Gas at 3.49/gal and 20mpg = $2618 Gas at 3.49/gal and 25mpg = $2094 Diesel at 3.99/gal and 30mpg = $1997 (extra filters and AdBlue fluid not included) Bottom line, if you can afford the extra $500 per year in fuel, you could focus less on the mpg's and more on what pleasure the car brings you.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 8 Months Ago
      I know that I'm going to piss off the hipster douchebags that hang off Elon Musk's balls when I make this comment, but at this point I really couldn't care less. Ignorance is bliss. The electricity used by electric cars doesn't come from burning fairy dust or unicorn hair. It's made by burning COAL, an energy source which is MUCH less efficient than even the most inefficient gasoline motors. Over 2/3 of the electricity which will be powering ness cars will be generated with COAL. Electric cars are little more than a fad, and fads die off quickly. Nearly every electric car company I can think of has gone under. Coda. Miles. Fisker. Aptera. What makes you think Telsa will be ANY different? Hint hint, it won't be. It's nothing more than a 5/4 scale Coda sedan with a Fisker price. GM, Nissan,Ford,Honda and BMW can afford to expirement with EVs and plug ins because they are gigantic corporations with tons of capital. Tesla is a house of cards company run by a crackpot mental case. I'm going to be really surprised if hey can even last the next decade.
        Kuro Houou
        • 2 Days Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Maybe you should educate yourself before making stupid comments on the internet.. you just make yourself look bad. Lets take California for example since they account for the majority of Electric cars.. here is the break down of where they get their engergy from.. and just to remind everyone you said its from "COAL" Energy Source % of total Natural Gas 46.5% Nuclear 14.9% Large Hydro 9.6% Coal 15.5% Renewables 13.5% Well what do we have there... Coal only accounts for 15.5%.. heck Renewables will probably eclipse it soon enough. And if you look at the USA its only 18%! So please stop scarring everyone into thinking using electric cars is worse then using Gas powered cars. Electric cars are here to stay, they aren't going anywhere soon, neither are gas cars.. but there will be more and more electric/hybrid type cars on the road every year.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Kuro Houou
          Congrats... you win Goodwin's Law... your opinion is now worth even less, as unbelievable as that might have been.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Kuro Houou
          I see that you copied our information from Wikipedia. I have absolutely NO respect for a site where Neo N A Z I s can edit the article on Judaism or something like that. There is a reason why Wikipedia is not considered a scholarly source: almost all the information on there is complete bullshit. This is common knowledge: judging by the sheer amount of ignorance you posted on here, you either never went to college or graduated from a public college (ie one that caters to ignorant peasants). You can drink your Koolaid all you want. ANY knowledgable person would know that electricity comes from coal. The Department of Energy figures are over 1/2 for the country and probably 2/3 when you factor out the cities.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Kuro Houou
          Congrats... you win Goodwin's Law... your opinion is now worth even less, as unbelievable as that might have been.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Kuro Houou
          Congrats... you win Goodwin's Law... your opinion is now worth even less, as unbelievable as that might have been.
        Kuro Houou
        • 2 Days Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Maybe you should educate yourself before making stupid comments on the internet.. you just make yourself look bad. Lets take California for example since they account for the majority of Electric cars.. here is the break down of where they get their engergy from.. and just to remind everyone you said its from "COAL" Energy Source % of total Natural Gas 46.5% Nuclear 14.9% Large Hydro 9.6% Coal 15.5% Renewables 13.5% Well what do we have there... Coal only accounts for 15.5%.. heck Renewables will probably eclipse it soon enough. And if you look at the USA its only 18%! So please stop scarring everyone into thinking using electric cars is worse then using Gas powered cars. Electric cars are here to stay, they aren't going anywhere soon, neither are gas cars.. but there will be more and more electric/hybrid type cars on the road every year.
        Ryan
        • 2 Days Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        I guess those solar panels on my house are powered by dirty coal somehow...
          CoolWaters
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Ryan
          Solar in CA, Nevada, Texas and Florida is very popular.
          CoolWaters
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Ryan
          Solar in CA, Nevada, Texas and Florida is very popular.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Ryan
          And how many people use solar panels again? Oh yeah, I forgot, almost no one
          CoolWaters
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Ryan
          Solar in CA, Nevada, Texas and Florida is very popular.
          raktmn
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Ryan
          Solar and wind power production in the United States is growing faster than EV power consumption. You need to solve your ignorance by digging into IEA data.
        Dave D
        • 2 Days Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        @fuel, is it hard to breathe when you're so stupid your brain stem barely functions? Do you have "waking apnea" from being so eff'ing stupid? Could you read and learn some facts before you pollute our universe with your "thoughts", please???
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Excellent troll / ignorance job, sir *tips hat*
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Excellent troll / ignorance job, sir *tips hat*
      otiswild
      • 8 Months Ago
      Given that 2012 gasoline consumption was 133 billion gallons, that savings amounts to 3 hours of gas use.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        @otiswild
        Here is some perspective: It took over a century of exponential growth for gasoline cars to achieve the consumption levels of today. Lithium Ion Battery and plug in cars have only started being 'sold' to the public in the the last 3 years. And we are now seeing the beginnings of exponential growth. *some people incorrectly believe that EVs had 100 years too. This is wrong because the Lead Acid EVs back then were nothing like today's EVs. Equivalent of riding a Donkey vs. riding a Horse.*
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Days Ago
        @otiswild
        So, are you saying they should not have bothered? Remember Kitty Hawk, Orville and Wilbur. First flight was less than 100 feet.
      EnzoFloydboy
      • 2 Days Ago
      Michael, people are investing in helping with congestion too. Do you somehow think that "selling a million EV's" is going to stop people from helping with congestion?
      Dennis Clouser
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why is it I have a hard time believing anything the Union of Concerned Scientist say??? What were they promoting in the 1980s??
        Johnny Trailerpark
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Dennis Clouser
        Probably because you're stupid.
        davebo357
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Dennis Clouser
        A serious follow-up to answer your question though, in the 1980's they successfully lobbied to strengthen safety standards at nuclear power plants and lobbied against the U.S. and Russia developing space weapons. Devious bastards.
        davebo357
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Dennis Clouser
        I know, right? These educated elite scientists and their nefarious agenda to sustain the planet for future generations! Always trying to advance technology and what-not.
      Joeviocoe
      • 8 Months Ago
      THIS is what "Distruption" looks like. The turn of the tide of public opinion. A generally positive article has garnered so much hate from folks who seem to be getting very nervous about being on the wrong side of history. It is quite staggering to see all of the negative comments here that are just based on lies and old debunked myths. While the positive comments are rooted in real knowledge about the topic. It really shows where the trend is turning. :)
      Corey Blue
      • 8 Months Ago
      How much more coal/natural gas is it burning? Electricity doesn't come from a magical outlet in the wall. Coal powered cars?! And I thought the coal age was coming to an end, sounds like we need more of it. I think I'll stick with diesels and gasoline burners.
      Joeviocoe
      • 8 Months Ago
      THIS is what "Distruption" looks like. The turn of the tide of public opinion. A generally positive article has garnered so much hate from folks who seem to be getting very nervous about being on the wrong side of history. It is quite staggering to see all of the negative comments here that are just based on lies and old debunked myths. While the positive comments are rooted in real knowledge about the topic. It really shows where the trend is turning. :)
      driver1439
      • 8 Months Ago
      I CALL BULLSHIT..........there are nowhere near enough EV's on the road to displace the much gasoline usage..........
        Jim1961
        • 2 Days Ago
        @driver1439
        The only people who can afford plugin cars are those who can do math!
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Days Ago
        @driver1439
        Use your calculator.
        Naturenut99
        • 2 Days Ago
        @driver1439
        The sales of all cars are widely reported. Yes that many EV's have been sold. Many people switched from higher consuming cars than a Prius. But I will use that mpg combined with my miles driven (which is lower than most people drive). I used to use about 300 gal/year with a Prius. With the Volt I use less than 50 gal/year. That's saving 250 gal/year Most people save more than that, since they were driving less efficient vehicles than a Prius and drive more miles per year. 200,000 EV's x 250 gal. = 50,000,000 gallons saved. So that 45,000,000 is about right or most likely on the low side.
      Level4
      • 8 Months Ago
      what the Law makers sees is who do I need to tax to recover 45 million gallons of gasoline per year in US in loss revenue... lol
      BraveLil'Toaster
      • 8 Months Ago
      Damn comment system is being flaky today. Ignore my dupes. :)
      Richard Nygaard
      • 2 Days Ago
      It puts it into perspective. We are not making much of a difference at this point.
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