American EVs reduced gas consumption by less than 1% in 2021: report

Argonne National Lab has recently revealed that 1.3 million battery electric vehicles were bought in the US between 2010 and 2021. Although this appears to be a large figure, it represents only a small percentage of the country’s 275+ million cars and truck fleet. Despite the plug-ins, gasoline usage nationwide dropped by just 0.54 percent in 2021.


For the last decade, US plug-in vehicle miles have been nearly 70 billion, using 22 TWh of energy. This has eliminated the need for almost 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline and 19 million tons of greenhouse gases. For comparison, the US used roughly 369 million gallons of gasoline each day in 2021. Plug-in cars particularly saved 690 million gallons of gasoline in 2021 and cut CO2 emissions by 5.4 million metric tons while using 6.1 TWh.

The highest increase in plug-in car sales happened in 2021 when they more than doubled from 308,000 to 634,000 vehicles. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. BEV sales soared by 92% to 457,000 units, while plug-in hybrid EV sales rose by 150% to 175,000 units, reported ARSTechnica.

The baseline was an internal combustion engine car traveling 13,500 miles (21,727 km) with a mix of 57% highway driving and 43 percent city driving, with the utility factor for PHEVs based on mileage adjustment factor and battery size for BEVs based on EPA-estimated range. Argonne assumes that plug-in drivers behave just like their gasoline-powered counterparts. Due to the pandemic, proportionate mileage reductions were also implemented for 2020 and 2021.

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It’s disappointing that gasoline usage decreased by just over 5%, given that plug-in vehicles account for roughly 1% of all light vehicles on US roads.

Argonne can demonstrate that EV adoption will not disrupt – charging EVs made up just 0.15 percent of all US electricity use last year. Argonne revealed that while PHEV electrical range efficiency really reduced drastically between 2019 and 2021, BEV electrical range efficiency has decreased since 2018, which Argonne attributes to the growing weight and size of electrified SUVs.

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