U.S. Drivers Call for More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Nearly one-third of all U.S. global warming emissions come from the transportation sector, a fact that hits hard as we approach World Environment Day on June 5. Simply put, our own personal vehicles are contributing to the harming of our planet. 

The United Nations designated June 5 as World Environment Day to encourage awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Our environment, however, is being attacked every minute. Cars and trucks account for almost 25% of all U.S. emissions, emitting about 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas used. While about 5 pounds of that comes from fuel production, the great bulk of heat-trapping emissions—more than 19 pounds per gallon—comes right out of a car’s tailpipe.

In recognition of World Environment Day, DriversEd.com has released its 2019 State of Green Cars Report, which surveyed U.S. drivers’ plans, perceptions, and predictions related to hybrid and electric vehicles. The questions asked as part of the survey targeted the cost and popularity of electric vehicles, as well as the perceived outlook of the market. 

“Environmentally friendly cars are the future, and, over time, more and more Americans are recognizing that,” said Laura Adams, Safety and Education Analyst at DriversEd.com. “As the use and popularity of hybrid and electric cars continue to expand, technologies and car models are improving for consumers.” 

Positive Intentions

DriversEd.com’s survey found that 84% of respondents said they’d like to see auto manufacturers invest more resources into building out their hybrid and electric vehicle models. For manufacturers themselves, hybrid and electric business seems to show signs of huge growth: According to the report, 31% of drivers plan to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle as their next car.

World Environment Day

Although drivers know electric vehicles are better for the planet, obtaining one is perceived as an expensive cost by the majority of Americans. The report found that 46% of respondents said they feel that hybrid cars are too expensive and 56% said they feel electric cars are too expensive. While sticker shock may deter some from buying an electric vehicle, long-term savings more than make up for the cost. According to Capital One, electric car owners save an average of $800 per year in fuel, as well as $1,500 on the first 150,000 miles worth of maintenance.

“Everyone knows that hybrid and electric cars are better for the environment, but not everyone knows the extent to which their costs are actually coming down,” added Adams. “Many states have tax credits and rebates that incentivize green cars. Unlike just a few years ago, today there are green car options for consumers across the economic spectrum. While there is certainly still progress to be made—in terms of costs and technologies as well as consumer perceptions—the future of green cars is a promising one.”

The Future’s Bright

Fortunately, U.S. drivers seem eager to implement change. The DriversEd.com report found that 36% of Americans believe the majority of vehicles in use by 2030 will be environmentally friendly. More than 3.1 million electric vehicles were in use in 2017. By 2030, that number is expected to skyrocket to 125 million

Visit https://www.un.org/en/events/environmentday to learn how you can support World Environment Day from your own community. 

The 2019 State of Green Cars survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey. One thousand and sixty-three participants were polled, spanning across the United States, with the U.S. driving population represented by the 997 respondents who, before completing the survey, answered that they have a driver’s license. The demographics of those polled represented a broad range of household income, geographic location, age, and gender.

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