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65 Percent of Americans Say EVs Essential to Future, Just 1 Percent Drive Them

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Though fewer than 1 percent of the U.S. population drives an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid, four out of ever 10 households could begin doing so with little or no change to their driving habits and vehicle needs.

That data comes from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Consumers Union, which issued a report Wednesday based on its polling of 1,004 people earlier this fall. Basic needs for an EV or plug-in hybrid are parking and a plug, which 56 percent of the respondents said they have.

“Drivers may have preconceptions about whether electric vehicles can meet their driving needs and habits, and this survey shows that for many, they can,” said Josh Goldman, policy analyst for the UCS Clean Vehicles Program.  

Graphic credit: Union of Concerned Scientists and the Consumers Union

One misconception about EVs, the survey found, was the idea that people would need to cut down on driving to preserve their charges. Sixty-nine percent of U.S. drivers travel less than 60 miles per weekday, which is well within the range of most battery-powered cars on the market.

Graphic credit: Union of Concerned Scientists and Consumers Union

The survey found that 65 percent of Americans think EVs are an essential part of the country's transportation future for reducing oil use and global warming pollution. Sixty percent saying they would consider owning one themselves.

Graphic credit: Union of Concerned Scientists and Consumers Union

Eight governors recently announced a joint plan to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on America’s roads by 2025.

“There is a huge potential to continue expanding the market for electric vehicles, a key solution for tackling climate change and cutting our nation’s projected oil use in half over the next 20 years,” said David Reichmuth, senior engineer for the UCS Clean Vehicles Program.

“Americans recognize that we need to reduce our oil use, and electric vehicles offer a great opportunity for drivers to do just that.”

Graphic credit: Union of Concerned Scientists and Consumers Union

Visit EcoWatch’s TRANSPORTATION page for more related news on this topic.

  

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

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At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.