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Electric vehicles are being driven about half the distance of conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, according to new a new paper from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). That means policymakers may be underestimating the costs of going fully electric, according to the authors.
The study combined hourly electric meter readings with address-level EV registration records in California, and found the purchase of an EV raised a household’s electricity consumption by just 2.9 kWh/day — indicating an average EV is driven about 5,300 miles annually. According to EPIC, that’s less than half of the U.S. fleet average.
There are several possible reasons EVs are driven less. “Perhaps most pessimistic for electrification would be if EVs are viewed by drivers as complements to gasoline cars, as opposed to substitutes,” David Rapson, an associate professor in the University of California Davis economics department and a co-author of the paper, said in an email.