What you will find on this page
Why this matters
Here in the U.S., cars are fundamental to our lives because things are more spread out than in other places. They are key to our productivity, are a sort of connective tissue, and are part of who we are. Driving an EV will be, too.
But, a typical passenger vehicle adds about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year, which, in 2017, came out to be over 15% of greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles. This includes the cars we drive to/from wherever we are going each day. Rethinking our decisions about cars is a tangible way we each can help address climate change.
- “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle” (EPA)
- “Fast Facts on Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (EPA)
- “North Carolina State Profile and Energy Estimates” (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
When shopping for an EV
EV technology will continue to improve, like longer lasting, more durable lithium-iron phosphate batteries. Depending on how sophisticated you want to get in your EV purchase decision, here are some things to consider.
All CO2 emissions
Since CO2 emissions generated from making, driving, and junking a car should be included in any analysis, you may find that a traditional gasoline-powered, used vehicle still is a good choice.
Clean energy source
If you will be plugging your EV into a grid that gets its power from coal-fired plants, your EV is still generating some CO2 emissions, and Duke Energy here in North Carolina unfortunately still has ways to go. Don’t stop after getting the EV. Help push for a clean energy grid.
Other electric car options
You will likely have many options for getting a pre-owned EV, and you could also look into “electrifying” a car you already own by turning it into a Hybrid or 100% EV. The economics and CO2 calculations will most likely be different than getting a new EV, maybe better.
Using an EV
Pay attention to how you will actually use your EV. This includes charging it (at home, your office, on the road) and maintaining it. It will be a new routine with a different set of servicing costs and technologies.
Tax incentives may or may not be available for the car you are considering. Check the limits set by the federal government per manufacturer. State government and local energy providers may also have deals with car makers to offer incentives. Duke currently has a deal with Nissan for up to $3,500 off its Nissan Leaf.
As you look into getting an EV, perhaps also consider how that purchase fits into the bigger picture of how you get around to do things. There are many other ways you can help reduce CO2 emissions associated with cars.
Reduce the upfront carbon footprint associated with making a new car.
Own fewer cars
How many cars does your household really need, and how often do you need to replace them?
How much driving do you need to do? Is there a more efficient way to shop, run errands etc.? Everything in moderation, right?
Lake Hogan Farms is currently not on the town’s public transportation grid. Would you take the bus into Carrboro and Chapel Hill if it became available? If your answer is a firm “yes” or even a “maybe”, push for it.
Uber and Lyft started as better options versus taxis. Since then, sharing rides has become a “thing.” Once we get past COVID-19, this will again become a good option.
You’ve seen the signs at various places around town. Turning off your car while waiting helps cut your emissions and reduces pollution in our community.
Comment or suggestion?
We hope this is helpful and welcome information. If you have a comment or suggestion, just drop us a note using our contact form. Make sure you include your contact information. We will get back to you as quickly as we can. Keep in mind that we are a small group of volunteers supporting this resource.