Study: Plug-in Hybrids Offer Significant Benefits

Offers evidence to support growing utility/automotive partnership

A recent study conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows that widespread use of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) can decrease both air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The study, which assessed the effect of increasing PHEVs in the U.S. fleet of light- and medium-duty vehicles from 2010 to 2050, was funded by Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. and more than a dozen utilities and organizations around the U.S.

The research also addressed persistent concerns about PHEV use in the transportation sector, which is now dependent on petroleum-based fuels. It concluded that:

  • The electric motors in PHEVs run much more efficiently than the internal combustion engines in traditional vehicles, reducing the total amount of energy necessary to power the vehicle.
  • The widespread use of PHEVs would result improvements in air quality due to reduced automotive exhaust pollution through transitioning a portion of transportation fuel to lower-emitting electricity generation.
  • PHEVs will generate significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the transportation industry by reducing dependence on fossil fuels for powering vehicles.

Based on this national study, PHEVs should not increase demand for electricity during peak hours, but primarily use electricity produced during off-peak periods when there is excess capacity readily available.


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