Photo: Wikipedia, CC
Yes, But Look at the Bigger Picture
According to a study by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, if the U.S. wants to significantly reduce its oil consumption, it should prioritize the fast adoption of electric cars over " the proposed national renewable portfolio standard". This makes a lot of sense, as a renewable portfolio standard would mostly have an impact on electricity production and not liquid fuels, but what the study fails to mention is that we'll need both approaches to truly start moving towards greener transportation.
Photo: Wikipedia, CC
Indeed, our dilemma isn't to either decide to clean up power plants or clean up vehicles, but rather to figure out how fast we can do both. Electric cars can indeed make a big difference in oil consumption, but they'll only bring maximum benefits if their adoption is couple with a de-carbonization of electricity generation in the USA (as I mentioned in my post about the electrification of transportation).
the Baker Institute analysis found "the single most effective way to reduce U.S. oil demand and foreign imports would be an aggressive campaign to launch electric vehicles into the automotive fleet." In fact, mandating that 30 percent of all vehicles be electric by 2050 would both reduce U.S. oil use by 2.5 million barrels a day beyond the 3 million barrels-per-day savings already expected from new corporate average fuel efficiency standards, and also cut emissions by 7 percent, while the proposed national renewable portfolio standard (RPS) would cut them by only 4 percent over the same time.
Another thing that the study doesn't seem to mention is that another great way to reduce oil consumption is to be less dependent on cars in the first place. Making our cities more walkable and bikable, making public transportation better, etc. All of these things must also be done in parallel to cleaning up cars and power plants. Having a narrow focus on just oil consumption might work for a study, but in the real world, we have to do it all.
Via Science Daily
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