Electric vehicles promise economic benefits in the billions

RIT study analyzes impacts of future transportation

Move over gas-guzzlers. The year is 2025 and 50 percent of all vehicles are electrically powered. Hybrid electrics, pure electrics and fuel cell vehicles share the road with the conventional gasoline-driven variety.

A recent study by James Winebrake, chair of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, analyzed this hypothetical transportation future and found economic benefits exceeding billions of dollars annually.

Winebrake’s study, published in the spring issue of Futures Research Quarterly, assessed impacts on U.S. gross domestic product, trade and labor, as well as impacts on fuel cycle emissions. Results were compared with the U.S. Department of Energy’s more conservative forecasts.

“Based on the scenario we looked at, the transfer of dollars from oil imports to domestic fuels–namely electricity–generates higher GDP, labor and reduced trade deficit,” Winebrake says. “We estimate a GDP impact of about $40 billion annually due to this transfer.”

Winebrake adds: “The aggressive electric-drive vehicle scenario is not a prediction, but allows us to identify the benefits of a future transportation sector that includes electricity. In the end we think electric drive vehicles are where the vehicle industry is headed and we wanted to get a sense of the potential impacts due to this shift.”

The study was conducted for the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit organization affiliated with the electric power industry.

For breaking news stories, hot-topic trend pieces and interesting perspectives, visit Rochester Institute of Technology’s news site and online experts database. To connect with RIT subject matter experts, searchable by name and expertise, go to: http://www.rit.edu/news and click on “RIT Experts.”

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