Cars and Trucks and Climate Change
Many people are surprised to learn that cars and trucks are the single largest source of global warming pollution in Maine, roughly 55 percent. This air pollution that exacerbates climate change isn’t just threatening our natural resource-based economy here in Maine, it’s also impacting our air quality and the health of Maine families and children. By driving electric vehicles in Maine, people are reducing air pollution that harms our environment, our health, and our economy.
Fortunately, high-efficiency, gasoline-battery hybrid cars like the Prius are now commonplace and many models of “plug-in” cars, also known as electric vehicles (EVs), are now practical and available in Maine. Especially when powered by clean, renewable power sources, electric vehicles are a very low-emission alternative to our biggest source of pollution.
Why Drive an Electric Vehicle?
Electric vehicles are fun to drive, cheaper to fuel, and better for Maine’s environment, economy, and energy independence than gas-powered cars. As gasoline-electric hybrids become increasingly common, a new era of “plug-in” electric cars is shaping the future of transportation. These cars on the roads and available at dealerships across the state, and they’re a smart choice for Mainers. While there are plug-in electric cars that are fully electric, you can also find plug-in electric cars that take some gasoline as well to extend their range of travel. Our electricity mix here in Maine is one of the cleanest in the country, and that makes plug-in electric cars far more environmentally friendly than even the most efficient hybrid car.
Driving Electric Vehicles Makes Sense Financially and for the Environment
What’s also surprising to many people is that electric cars are a choice that makes sense financially and environmentally. Many plug-in electric cars are now comparable in price to conventional cars, especially when you factor in the federal tax credit (anywhere between $2500 and $7500). People are now finding used electric cars that are even more affordable. Interested in learning what the comparative costs of fueling your car with gas or electricity would be where you live? Check out this tool from the Department of Energy.
After spending years with gas-powered cars, many folks are concerned about how far they can go in an electric car, but battery ranges are increasing and charging stations for electric cars are expanding rapidly around the state, the region, and the country. In truth, most people simply charge at home overnight and leave each day with a full “tank” and enough miles to do what they need to do. For people who have solar, or are considering getting an array installed, once you’ve paid for the panels, it’s like having free, clean fuel for your car. Check out some of our resources below for more information on electric cars, charging them, and the exciting future of transportation.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine works for laws, programs, and public information that help transition to a cleaner transportation system, especially through electrification.
For the health of Maine people and our environment, NRCM continues to lead efforts to make cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles available. Cleaner cars mean cleaner air, and that means a healthier future for all of us.