Electricity used to power
vehicles is generally provided by the electric grid and stored in the vehicle's
batteries. However, electricity can also
be created from a generator inside the vehicle that is powered by fossil fuels such
as gasoline or diesel. 
consumption of electricity as a transportation fuel increased approximately
57% between 2010 and 2011.
manufacturers continue to investigate innovative ways to increase battery power
and vehicle range, electricity as a transportation fuel remains an extremely
attractive alternative fuel that is emerging from research and development into
obvious advantage of using electricity is that it provides the potential for
zero vehicle emissions, thus making it attractive in heavily polluted
cities. Widespread deployment of
electric vehicles could reduce U.S.
oil consumption by up to 4 million barrels per day by 2050 (current U.S.
gasoline consumption is approximately 9 million barrels per day). Initial
benefits for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are more
modest, but significant, and would increase dramatically as the carbon
intensity of the electric supply decreases. By 2050, annual CO2 emissions could be reduced by an
estimated 400-600 million metric tons.
it is important to note that the emissions produced by the electric grid vary
depending on the source of electric power. For example, the electricity largely produced from the burning of coal
(typically found in the Midwest) produces more
harmful well-to-wheel emissions than electricity produced from nuclear, solar,
wind, or hydroelectric sources. Therefore, if the vehicle operates in an area where coal or natural gas
is the primary source for electric power, the vehicle may produce more
well-to-wheel emissions than a hybrid electric vehicle that uses gasoline to
power an electricity generator inside the vehicle.
electric-powered vehicle motors are much more efficient than the traditional
internal combustion engine. Electric-powered vehicle motors convert 75% of the chemical energy from
batteries to power the wheels, whereas internal combustion engines only convert
20% of the energy stored in gasoline. In addition to engine efficiency,
price is another advantage. The average
retail price of electricity in the United States in 2013 was 10.08
cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and by practicing “off-peak hours” charging,
consumers can access electricity prices even lower than that.
are several current disadvantages to electric-powered vehicles. To begin with they have a relatively short
driving range, which is limited by the energy storage capacity of their
batteries. In addition, recharging
vehicle batteries can take hours which can be inconvenient to the driver. Also, many electric vehicles are underpowered
relative to gasoline powered vehicles. Advances in battery technology, however, are closing all of these gaps.