Environmental Issues and Impacts

EVs are simpler than internal combustion vehicles in that they do not use an on-board liquid/gaseous fuel, oil, an oil pump, an oil filter, a radiator, coolant, or belts. This equates to less vehicle maintenance which all drivers would appreciate. EVs are safer in that they do not have a large combustion fuel source such as gasoline, diesel, biodiesel, and hydrogen. Electric motors are 92% mechanically efficient (work output divided by work input) compared to only 18% mechanical efficiency of internal combustion engines.

U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil

This national project is a major step in United States history to become free from the dependence on imported petroleum. Today, the United States has a consumption rate of over 5 billion barrels of oil per year, while U.S. production hovers at only 1.8 billion barrels (1). The United States is spending approximately $1 billion a day on overseas oil. This excessive spending on oil can create international tension between oil producing nations and oil demanding nations which could lead to war (18).

The environmental impact of the petroleum industry includes the land use, waste management, and groundwater/ air pollution from the production and refining process. Carbon dioxide and other harmful gases and waste materials are produced. The oil may be transported vast distances by tanker and pipeline, adding to its impact on the environment. Accidents such as oil spills can cause additional damage to the ecology. In the long run, the impact on the environment would greatly benefit from the green transportation efforts that are being implemented now.

 Each electric vehicle associated with this project will save approximately 530 gallons of gasoline per year compared to a comparable internal combustion sedan if 15,000 miles were driven that year. The initial 4700 electric vehicles could save 2.5 million gallons of gas (≈ 60,000 barrels of oil) per year. The United States has over 200 million registered passenger vehicles today; if 10% of the vehicles on the road were electric (20,000,000) by 2020, this will save over a quarter of a billion barrels of foreign oil from being purchased.

 Nissan LEAF Cost Efficiency

A full charge for the Nissan LEAF will cost approximately $2.50 and have a range of 100 miles (normal driving on relatively flat terrain with only necessary on-board electronics use). That is a driving cost of 2.5 cents per mile driven. An 18mpg internal combustion vehicle driving cost is 15 cents per mile driven considering the national average of $2.70 per gallon of 87 octane gasoline. Therefore, driving this EV is six times more cost efficient than an 18mpg internal combustion vehicle.

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