Why Buy a Plug-In Vehicle?

Plug-in electric vehicles are the next generation of clean cars that use electric batteries charged from an external source – an outlet in your garage or at a public charging station. With smart strategies and a favorable policy framework, these vehicles present an exciting opportunity to reduce air pollution, save drivers more than $1,200 per year on gasoline and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The burst of energy and investment around cleaner, higher-performing car technologies is a bright spot in the Midwest’s manufacturing belt. Advanced vehicle battery plants are employing thousands of people throughout the region.  Strong consumer demand for electric cars will ensure that these jobs are here to stay.

Public Health and Environmental Benefits

Transportation is the second leading source of climate change pollution, but cleaner cars, cleaner fuels, better transit and more sustainable planning present huge opportunities to reduce pollution while creating jobs and economic development. In general, plug-in cars produce less tailpipe pollution, and less pollution overall, compared to most conventional vehicles because electric motors are 3.4 times more efficient. 

The U.S. Department of Energy advocates for the “widespread use of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, including plug-in electric vehicles”, in order to “reduce national dependence on petroleum and to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions that impact air quality and public health”. All electric vehicles emit zero direct emissions and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles  produce zero tailpipe emissions when driven in all-electric mode. They typically have less direct emissions than comparable conventional vehicles when internal combustion engines are used.

Climate change plays a significant role in global health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) climate change “increases temperature-related death and illness, air quality and respiratory illness, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases (such as malaria, West Nile fever or Lyme disease), water-related illness, and impacts food safety, nutrition, and distribution and mental health and well-being”. By transitioning entirely to cars that are either plug-in electric or powered by low-carbon fuels and electricity we could reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent and eliminate petroleum use almost entirely (energy.gov).

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles are increasingly popular among U.S. drivers.

Plugging In Saves You Money

Over its lifetime, an electric car will generally cost less in total to own, operate and maintain than a car with a conventional gasoline engine. Instead of relying on dirty fuels, electric cars can “fill up” on low-cost electricity, especially at night when energy demand and prices are low.  Electric cars may also be less costly to maintain, as regenerative braking extends the life of brake pads and rotors, and pure battery-electric vehicles have no need for oil changes, filters or mufflers.

(Click Graph to Enlarge)

  •  31.13% electricity and 68.87% gas
  •  Car type is 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Plug in Hybrid
  • Average daily driving distance – 34 mi, 5 days per week, 49 weeks per year, 45% highway (These are Alternative Fuel Data Center’s default assumptions)
  • Other trips – total 3,596 miles, with 80% of that on highways (AFDC default assumptions)
  • Charging is done in IL, and the vehicle is plugged in every day (AFDC default assumption).


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