As San Diegan's we appreciate our clean environment and we strive to do more.

As a San Diego native, the hazy brown skies and pollution of the 70’s and 80’s mostly caused by our larger neighbor to the north, LA, and our love affair with the gasoline-powered car, left an indelible stain of wrongness on my memory. With every breath I took, I was polluting my lungs and my body with the always present smog.

Many San Diegan's and I (many Californian's too) have a lifelong desire to clean our environment for now and for future generations of San Diegan's.

It’s fashionable and easy to beat up on utilities like SDG&E and state regulators such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) however they are the entities along with the individuals and families who decide to prioritize clean air and economic savings in their purchases, that are moving our region forward as national leaders in the EV and PV space.  Over 130,000 San Diego households have gone solar and over 30,000 EV’s are on our roads.  Statewide its close 800,000 rooftops with Solar PV and 200,000 EVs. Data here:

That’s a million Californian families involved in individual actions to significantly clean our air, improve their family budgets and to make California better.  Each and every one, I consider a hero.

Why is this happening here? because of great state leadership, innovative programs from our utilities and a population that appreciates clean air and saving money.

In California, our electricity cost per kwh is the fifth highest in the nation. But that’s only half the story and you know what they say about half a story, it's worse than a lie.  In California, our monthly electricity cost per household is 47th in the nation and that is mostly due to our conservation efforts and temperate climate.  Data here: 

In San Diego and in all of California, transportation is the single largest source of emissions by far at 54%, this is more than twice the next largest source of emissions. Oddly enough, electric transportation is also the single greatest source of savings for the average family.

Using electricity for transportation provides us over 5 times greater emissions savings as using the same amount of electricity for our buildings.  Gasoline simply has far more emissions than our existing SDG&E grid which is at 45% renewables already. That’s using our money and electricity in the wisest way to clean our air.

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SDG&E’s EV-TOU-5 Rate

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In the U.S. the average car drives 12,000 miles a year with the average new car getting 24 mpg.   With gas prices in San Diego at $3.50 a gallon, this equates to $1750 a year in gas cost per vehicle.

In San Diego with the new SDG&E EV-TOU-5  rate with the car charging while you sleep between midnight and 6am, (and to 2pm on weekends) the cost to drive the same distance is calculated at  9.4 cents per KWH with 3500 KWH needed to travel 12,000 miles in our BMW i3.  This totals $329 per year.

Additionally, in the SDG&E service area, EV and PHEV drivers are eligible for a EV Climate Credit. In 2017 it was $200 per EV or PHEV and in 2018 it was $500 per EV or PHEV.  Driving on electricity in San Diego for our family is a cost of -$171 a year per EV and we have two.  Yes, you can apply the $171 credit to your homes electric bill.


With the average EV driving 12,000 a year, you can drive for free in San Diego with no cost of fuel on the EV-TOU-5 rate and EV Climate Credit.

Think about it, if your gas car could magically go to the gas station in the middle of the night while you sleep, with no effort on your part and fill up for free, returning to your garage 100% full in the morning, would you do it?   That is exactly the scenario for electric cars in San Diego.

Many other EV programs including vehicle incentives are available from SDG&E for those lucky enough to live in the region.  Data here:

To summarize, the savings per electric vehicle as compared to a gasoline vehicle is $1421 per year, if you apply for the EV credit it’s  $1921 a year per vehicle.   With an average family having 2-3 cars, the savings could be much larger if more than one car is an EV or PHEV.

To reduce emissions and strengthen our family budgets we need to focus our efforts on transportation with a stable and predictable electricity supply. When we electrify transportation, we lower our emissions over 3000lbs per MWH and we save $160 a month on our average family transportation fuel bill per vehicle.

That’s real emissions reduction and real savings for San Diego families.

You can live and drive on Sunshine.

Our nation can learn a lesson from our experience in San Diego.

***Editors note: 

Peder Norby is a Carlsbad Ca. resident and served as a San Diego County Planning Commissioner for eight years.   He is a contributing writer for Inside EV's. He and his wife Julie received the 2008 Energy Efficiency Award from the Center for Sustainable Energy for the construction of their beyond net zero home, Herons’ House.  Peder is a consultant, EV pioneer, Electronaut, and Co-Creator working and consulting with electric transportation companies, municipalities, landowners and utilities.   He is a consultant with Sempra Services. Sempra is the parent company of SDG&E, which is prominently mentioned in this writing.

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