DoE – U.S. Plug-In Electric Cars Consumed 2 TWh Of Electricity In 2017

JUN 8 2018 BY MARK KANE 50

According to the Office Of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, plug-in electric vehicles consumed nearly 2 TWh (2,000 GWh) of electricity last year in the U.S.

The amount of electricity consumed during charging increases every year as there are more and more electric cars.

Read Also – Plug-In Electric Cars Displaced 216 Million Gallons Of Gas In U.S. In 2017

Noteworthy is that the share of consumption by all-electric vehicles increased over time and in 2017 stood at 57%, compared to 43% for plug-in hybrids. Five years ago, it was the opposite.

Total electricity consumption by PEV:

  • 2011 – 0.02 TWh
  • 2012 – 0.11 TWh (up 450%)
  • 2013 – 0.32 TWh (up 191%)
  • 2014 – 0.63 TWh (up 97%)
  • 2015 – 0.97 TWh (up 54%)
  • 2016 – 1.38 TWh (up 42%)
  • 2017 – 1.94 TWh (up 41%)

Total electricity consumption by PEV, 2011-2017 (source:

Source: Argonne National Laboratory, Impacts of Electrification of Light-Duty Vehicles in the United States, 2010-2017, ANL/ESD-18/1, January 2018.


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50 Comments on "DoE – U.S. Plug-In Electric Cars Consumed 2 TWh Of Electricity In 2017"

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In 2016 the US had an electricity consumption of about 4137 TWh, which means that electric cars (and electrified vehicles) were accounting for around 0,0048% of electricity consumption.

I think you’ve gone one zero too far 🙂 it comes out to be ~0.05% (or as a fraction, 1/2000).
Seems like a little, but according to Wikipedia this is approximately the *entire* consumption of Malawi (19 million people), and ~1.5x more than the consumption of even larger countries like Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Madagascar.

We are soooo privileged.

There is a solar commercial with a guy saying “now that i have solar i don’t have to worry about leaving my lights on”…or something to that extent.

Sounds daft. Any energy wasted is still wasted. He could be feeding that into the grid or capturing it for later.

That is insane. The whole of Germany doesn’t even consume 4000 TWh in primary energy.

A quarter the population, so what’s so insane about it?

But only a tenth of energy consumption while being one of the largest industrial exporters.

Americans consume more energy per capita than residents of any other industrialized country in the world. This isn’t just electricity, but still

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Or said another way….

EV’s offset the burning of OPEC junk by 62.5 Million Gallons.

The U.S. burns 100 billion gallons of gasoline per year.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Gotta start somewhere bruh……

Exaggerate much, dude? You’re off there by about 1-1/2 orders of magnitude!

Reality check: “In 2017, about 142.85 billion gallons (or about 3.40 billion barrels) of finished motor gasoline were consumed2 in the United States…” (source below)

And yeah, the reduction in gasoline consumption that 2 TWh of electricity represents is a good start, and will grow every year!

Up the EV revolution!


You also have to add up the increased efficiency by the proliferation of the hybrid vehicles and the increased demand for PHEVs in the second hand market for a household’s second ( secondary breadwinner/ household caretaker ) or third car ( high school/ local college attending children ).

But there’s a reverse trend as well given that there was improper / dalayed/ lacking response to disaster areas depending on the area in question, there’s a spike in petroleum products being used to generate electricity on a smaller scale via portable generators.

The final part is busses and municipal level heavy vehicles, where the Department of transportation rates them at 1,5-6 MPGs and you also replace a few hundred litres of motor oil each year.

How is his 100 billion gallons an exaggeration of your 141 billion gallons?

That is certainly not off by an order of magnitude.

I read the article it said 216 million gallons of gas? About 1/2 a days worth; but 2018 will equal a day, 2019 2 days and keep climbing.

and it takes a dollars worth of electric to make one gallon of gas dont forget…

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


Not. Sadly, there are a lot of false memes spreading around the internet about the amount of energy used to refine gasoline.

In reality, perhaps 4-7 kWh of energy is used to refine a gallon of gasoline, but most of that comes in the form of heat energy from burning petroleum waste products and natural gas, not in the form of electricity. Heat is needed to drive the fractional distillation process of refining. Some electricity is needed, but not nearly as much.

There are a lot of completely true reasons to prefer using electricity to gas, in powering cars. I submit we don’t need to use false ones.

Im repeating what a guy that works at a gas refinery told me. Maybe he dosent really know but I doubt it.

Not all guys who work at refineries are equal wrt knowledge in these matters. PP is 100% spot on. Tell your guy to check his numbers and facts.

ok, thanks.

I wonder if the flare of NG gets included in the production. It’s really a wasteful system. I think we can all agree with that.

Not much help with global warming. Not sure but probably 1/3 of NG gets flared worldwide off.

Seems to me the “waste energy”could have been used to generate electricity rather than make gasoline.

7 kWh of electricity would cost around 84 cents so maybe it could be said that refining gasoline takes the equivalent of nearly a dollars worth of energy.

In California PG&E territory that would be retail rates of $0.245/kwh up to $0.54/kwh (in SDG&E) NOT counting demand charges so CA cost to refine (Richmond, Socal) is much higher. A range of $1.715 to $3.78 a gallon spent on electricity to refine gasoline. Major utility refineries are probably able to participate in direct wholesale markets and so get the LMP (Local Marginal Price) or around $0.05/KWH.

Interestingly the Utilities are adjusting their rates, esp for commercial customers like charging networks, to come pretty close to the cost of gasoline.

The source isn’t utility sourced electricity, and not at confiscatory rates. So your figure is meaningless. Wholesale electricity in my area was 2.98 cents / kwh for the year, – that was the amount of credit I was given for my Solar Excess. But again, they substantially make their own electricity from their own processes.

As regards flared gas – these (in modern refineries) are typically low heat content gasses that used to be uneconomic to recover, but in the industry today there is a push to even recoup these last quite low energy sources into productive uses.

So the common statement that it costs a dollar to refine a gallon of gasoline has always been false, and even more so today. More like a dime at most.

2TWh is still less than 0.5% of our total energy consumption…
Now, lets increase that number, or, by integrating solar, battery, and EV charging, we could have most vehicles be electric and still be using a marginal amount of energy from the grid.

My share was from my solar panels. EV’s should be powered by renewables so that we can make that
“longer tailpipe” FUD die.

So, there won’t be any collapsing grid due to EVs like those fake myth has claimed…

We are far away from impacting the grid for a long time…

But that’s not going to prevent EV haters from repeating that FUD, no matter how false it is.

If the current US LDV fleet were to magically transform into EVs, they should consume about 400 TWH or 10%.
Shouldn’t be a problem.

Estimates for Sweden and Austria were something like 7%.

So might only be an issue if we transform comlete fleet within 2, 3 years.

Which given the average fleet renewal time is probably like 10+ years is an extremely unlikely occurence even if you could only buy EVs.

To put this in perspective, in July of last summer, Residential small scale solar Photovoltaic produced 1.487 TWh of electricity in just that one month. In less than a month and a half, people with their home solar produced enough electricity with their solar panels to power every single EV for a year.

EV owners with their Solar panels are collectively offsetting 100% of all the electricity used to power EV’s. So even if you don’t personally own solar, some other solar panel owner is over-producing enough solar power to offset your consumption. The grid is cleaner with EV’s and solar than if EV’s and Solar never existed.

I think the more interesting question is whether the annual increases are higher than the increase over those same years in the number of EVs on the road. If yes, that would mean the per-car electric mileage of EVs is rising, i.e., they are getting used more for more and/or longer trips, or, in other words, they are becoming more useful.

The world needs more Plug-In (Hybrid) EV’s driving around on its roads.

Car manufacturers will introduce many more models in the coming years.

Battery technology will improve further during the next decade.

The annual number of new Plug-In (Hybrid) EV’s that will be produced/sold/delivered will increase significantly every year.

There will need to be a certain number of Plug-In (Hybrid) EV models that become very popular and sell in high numbers each year (at least 100,000 per year).

Such as the Tesla Model 3 and the Nissan Leaf.

Which other Plug-In (Hybrid) EV models do/will have the potential to reach such a level of annual sales?

Why anybody would go for a plug in hybrid (beyond ca. 2020) is beyond me. By keeping the ICE you keep all the maintenance cost.

Yes, it totally mystifies me why hybrids are so popular compared to all-electric. The only reason is that there are lots of gas stations and this reduces range anxiety. Having done lots of long distance driving in my Chevy Bolt EV, I have proved to myself that range anxiety is no worse than in a gasoline car. Carrying an ICE around is like carrying your own personal polluter around.

I personally also would prefer if there would only be BEV’s.

A large portion of the Plug-In sales are PHEV’s.

And it’s good that the PHEV’s are there as well as the BEV’s.

We rather would see more and more people step away from the ICE.

People who buy a PHEV now will buy a BEV later, it’s just a matter of time.

The main point is that people step away from the ICE.

They have to buy some car model that has a battery pack and a plug.

A Toyota Prius Prime instead of a standerd Toyota Prius at least is a step in the right direction.

“A Toyota Prius Prime instead of a standerd [SIC] Toyota Prius at least is a step in the right direction.”

It is better than a step. The existence of these additional vehicles helps remove the chicken and egg problem of adding charging infrastructure. More importantly each one increases production of plug-in components thereby contributing to scale and learning based cost reductions. The concern that some subset of plugs won’t be used in plug-in hybrids is entirely misplaced. A subset of BEV owners use combustion-based transport for some of their travel. Quickly getting plugs on all vehicles would have a massively bigger positive impact than slowly getting rid of the combustion engines. For some percentage of travel biofuels are already completely sustainable and diffuse enough that with emissions controls there are no issues with point emissions. That fraction is also growing with research.

A few key points would be :
Most electric vehicles 80% charge at home during Off Peak hours.
Electric utilities have excess power Off Peak and even dump it since they have no storage.
Many street light that are only used at night are switching to LED that use 1/10th the power so we have even more excess power at night Off Peak.
Many people have Solar that make all their energy day times during on Peak hours.
Wind has been growing fast and makes most at night as winds change with temperatures.

So we have lots of almost free energy Off Peak at night during the middle of the day On Peak. It’s only the duck curve 5-9 am and 5-9 PM that we should not charge a vehicle.

“…Electric utilities have excess power Off Peak and even dump it since they have no storage…”

Oh I see, off peak they dump it out the window. Brilliant. Wouldn’t try wiring your own house man.

Bull, when my generator is running and nothing is plugged in to it, it is “dumping” it. Sometimes when the power is out and I don’t need the full capacity of my generator I will charge one of my cars even if I won’t need the range. This is another way I dump the excess power. In a similar way, power providers dump their energy.

They tell me all small engines (even the cheapest lawnmower for $159) have fan-driven governors on them such that when the load decreases the gasoline consumption ALSO DECREASES. While power generators have almost nothing in common with your backyard generator (one difference is too light a loading on a steam turbine will melt it) , even your backyard generator uses LESS GASOLINE under no or light loading. The power isn’t generated and there is nothing to dump.

The fact that since you have a backyard generator, and, excuse me, are basically clueless as to HOW it regulates its speed, and that there is nothing being dumped even by your toy generator – that you AUTOMATICALLY assume that this is how ALL BIG CENTRAL STATIONS work also.. Thanks for today’s comedy hour.

The larger this number, the better off basically every human on Earth is. More electricity used = less fossil fuel. Ramp up!

This is an estimate at best…… Most people live in places without separate metering for their electrified cars, and in my area, even though I am Net Metered, the Utility STILL has no record of the amount of solar power I make (I measure that myself accurately, but I don’t tell the utility that), and they EVEN DO NOT KNOW how much electricity I send back to them (obviously because they don’t care – other NY State utilities DO keep track of the electricity ‘sold’ to them – even if they can’t recoup any additional monies from it). They only keep track of the difference between what I consume from them and what I sell back to them on a once a month basis, and only zero the account annually, thereby providing free winter months (over 3000 kwh free for me this VERY COLD winter when my solar panels were totally snow and ice covered).

Other ‘networks’ such as ChargePoint, etc, can provide accurate usage info, but that is miniscule to the total EV consumption.

Another very proper comment blocked by IEVS.

Bill, I will tell you again that we’re not blocking your comments. There is some word that you’re using that is blocked by our Blacklist due to a recently blocked username or email. I’m out of town driving the Jaguar I-Pace. As soon as I notice that your comments have been blocked I immediately whitelist them. I’ve said this many times before. Please stop public announcing that InsideEVS is blacklisting your comments. I explained this same situation yesterday and many times before.

No need to get all huffy about this Steven – you want to know when things aren’t working right and I’m just notifying you of such. That fact that this is automatically by mechanized systems not working correctly is an irrelevancy to the user.

Oh, and by the way, if I didn’t ‘publicly announce’ the problem my comment would have never seen the light of day.

So if you don’t like it please come up with a button I can push to light up a bulb at your end so that you can fix it without saying something publically.

In Austin, all 600 local chargers are offset by 100% wind and are a dollar a week, unlimited driving. Does any other area have something similar?