Californians love their cars, but they also love green cars. Thanks to generous state incentives for people who buy all-electric or plug-in hybrid cars, not to mention the state’s tough laws requiring automakers to produce a mandated number of zero emissions cars in order to sell there, you can’t go far in The Golden State without seeing some form of plug-in car.
Many of California’s plug-in incentives were borne out of a desire to improve air quality around major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, both of which have been historically known for debilitating smog clouds which hung around for days or even weeks at a time, damaging the health of their citizens. It’s no surprise then that Chevrolet, maker of the Volt range-extended electric car, has chosen to produce an infographic to highlight just how much it’s helped California reduce its dependence on smog-causing gasoline.
In its latest press release, Chevrolet proudly proclaims that an impressive 40 percent of all Chevrolet Volt sales to date in the U.S. have been to customers in California, representing more than 20,000 cars out of a U.S. sales total of 50,000 Volts.
Those cars, it claims, have driven more than 130 million miles on electricity alone, saving an estimated 7 million gallons of gasoline and nearly 8 hours of continuous gas pumping across the state, thanks in part to an average of 900 miles between fillups.
But while Chevy is keen to promote its gas-saving customers, we can’t help but mention the effect that other plug-in cars must have had on gasoline sales in the state.
For a start, California has more plug-in cars than any other state put together, accounting for just under a third of all plug-in sales in the U.S. to date. This summer, Plug-in America announced the 100,000th plug-in car was sold in the U.S. By now, we’re guessing that figure has risen by several thousand cars, translating to what we think is as least 34,000 plug-in cars in California alone.
Many of them are all-electric models, like the Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus EV, Fiat 500E, Honda Fit, Toyota RAV4EV and of course, Tesla Model S. Others will be plug-in cars like the Toyota Prius PHEV, Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid, and Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. If Chevrolet claims 7 million gallons of gasoline have been saved by Volt owners in California, we think total state gasoline savings due to EV owners must be double or even triple that figure.
Of course, obtaining and calculating how much gasoline has really been saved by EV owners across California isn’t an easy task. But even with some back-of-the-napkin, finger in the air maths, the effect EVs are having on the consumption of gasoline is clear.
Consumption of gasoline is falling, people are driving less, and EVs –while not the only reason for this — can help reduce our gasoline consumption further.
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