RAN members often ask us why we’re so crazy about plug-ins (a.k.a. Plug-in Hybrids, a.k.a. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, a.k.a. PHEVs). A new report from fellow environmental non-profit NRDC (a.k.a. Natural Resource Defense Council) and EPRI (a.k.a. Electric Power Research Institute) lays it out pretty well. Why we’re so crazy about acronyms is a different question. Anyway, to quote the summary:
PHEVs offer the potential for reducing both emissions and fuel consumption, simultaneously addressing the issues of global warming and the nation’s dependence on imported oil.
Climate change and extractive industries (such as drilling for oil and mining for coal) are two of the largest threats to pristine ecosystems and their inhabitants all over the world, as well as being significant problems on their own. While we would never disagree with those saying that dusting off that old bike in the garage accomplishes the same stuff (and I ride zero-emission mass transit to work each morning myself), it’s undeniable that plug-ins are the route that automakers must take if they are serious about cutting vehicle emissions drastically and quickly enough to curb climate change. You can help us convince them over at FreedomFromOil.org.
One of the best reasons to plug in is that while oil can never be clean, the electric grid can only get cleaner over time. That’s why RAN’s Global Finance campaign is busy stopping new coal-fired powerplants and keeping banks from funding them altogether.
My personal transportation hero is Dave Raboy, a friend of RAN’s who fuels his all-electric truck (nothing hybrid about it!) with residential solar panels (his story is available on the NYTimes website, subscription required). He’s justifiably proud of the fact that since he bought his truck it “has cost me nothing to run. No maintenance, no oil changes, no gas.”
Update: Even the San Francisco Chronicle is raving about plug-ins today.