Paying to Power Our Cars
According to a new report "Where Your Money Goes" by Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the average American spends $22,000 to pay for gasoline over the lifetime of the vehicle. That's about as much as some people spend on the cars themselves!
President Obama doesn't like this equation at all. In this week's State of the Union address, the president proposed a new Energy Security Trust that would use funds generated by oil and gas revenues on public lands to invest in advanced vehicle technology that will "shift our cars and trucks off oil for good."
UCS further found that only about 81 cents per $50 fill-up goes to the local service station, and the vast majority of the money goes directly to U.S.-based Big Oil companies and state-owned foreign oil companies.
Plug-in electric vehicles, however, are powered partly or fully by domestic electricity sources. "Freedom from oil" is a reason that many EV drivers cite for switching to plug-in cars. Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Tim Goodrich in a previous Sierra Club blog post said he bought his Nissan Leaf because
the cost of filling up with gas is just too much. I'm not just writing about the price we're paying at the pump; I am also referring to the cost to our future generations, our national security, and our economy. As a veteran, I have seen the toll these costs take and I am doing what I can to stop contributing to the problem.
Out-going U.S. Energy Secretary
Steven Chu recently announced a new Workplace Charging Challenge, an effort to provide more people with the
opportunity to charge their EVs at work. Google, Verizon, and the Big Three U.S. automakers are among the 21 founding
partners of the workplace charging program (at no tax-payer expense) that pledge to "assess workforce plug-in electric vehicle charging demands, and then
develop and implement a plan to install workplace charging infrastructure for
at least one major worksite location."
These workplace EV chargers will help as more people do the math and figure out how to free themselves from oil.
(Photo: Jesse Prentice-Dunn.)
-- Gina Coplon-Newfield is the Sierra Club’s Director of Green Fleets & Electric Vehicles Initiative.