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In Cities Across the Country, Driving Electric Is Cheaper Than Gasoline
It's much cheaper to charge a car than fill it with gasoline, according to the study Going from Pump to Plug: Adding up the Savings from Electric Vehicles, released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Tuesday. The analysis compared electricity rates and gasoline prices in 57 cities around the country. The study shows that electric vehicle (EV) drivers could save from $440 to more than $1,070 a year compared to the cost of fueling the average new gasoline-powered vehicle.
"Electric vehicles offer a lot of real benefits for drivers, but one of the most striking is how much cheaper they are to fuel," said David Reichmuth, senior engineer at UCS and author of the new study. "In every city we looked at, electric drivers saved significantly by switching from gasoline."
Even at Tuesday's relatively low gas prices, drivers can save by going electric. And while electricity prices are relatively stable, gas prices have historically been volatile. While the price of a gallon of gasoline has ranged from less than $2.00 to more than $4.50 over the past 15 years, the cost of electricity equivalent to a gallon of gas has only varied between $0.88 and $1.17 during that time. The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey shows the risk of sudden swings in gas prices—the price spike resulting from the damage done to oil infrastructure in Texas cost America's drivers an extra $3 billion in just four weeks.
In addition to the savings drivers can get from plugging in their car at home instead of filing up with gasoline, the study also examined the costs of public charging and the savings on maintenance costs. The cost of public charging can vary widely, from free to the same or even higher than gasoline prices in some cases. However, because the vast majority of charging occurs at home, public charging costs have only a small impact on overall savings. Battery electric vehicles are also much cheaper to maintain than traditional cars. With fewer moving parts and no need for oil changes, an electric vehicle can cut maintenance costs by more than half.
The amount drivers can save by going electric varies from city to city, and the new report details these savings for each of the 57 different cities studied. Across the country, electric vehicles also offer significantly lower global warming emissions than comparable gasoline vehicles.
While the upfront cost of EVs remains higher than comparable gasoline vehicles, EVs are increasingly affordable and compare favorably to similar gasoline vehicles when federal incentives are available. Falling battery costs and rising EV production are helping to push EV prices down.
"Electric vehicles can be really good for consumers, but we need to work harder to build out the market so more people can take advantage of the benefits," said Reichmuth. "Manufacturers are beginning to offer more electric options, but we also need better charging infrastructure and electricity plans. And we should defend state and federal policies that help make these vehicles affordable for more people."
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By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.