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

MAY 16 2018 BY MARK KANE 69

Plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. are displacing more and more gasoline consumption.

According to the U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, in the 2017, some 216 million gallons of gasoline were displaced by plug-ins, which is 39% more than one year earlier.

All-electric cars recently started to play a bigger role than plug-in hybrids, as some 60% of displaced consumption fell on BEVs in 2017.

Read Also – Nearly Two-Thirds of U.S. Plug-In Vehicles Were Assembled In U.S.

Here is the comparison:

  • 2017 – 216 million gallons of gasoline (up 39%)
  • 2016 – 155 million gallons of gasoline (up 42%)
  • 2015 – 109 million gallons of gasoline (up 56%)
  • 2014 – 70 million gallons of gasoline (up 94%)
  • 2013 – 36 million gallons of gasoline (up 200%)
  • 2012 – 12 million gallons of gasoline (up 300%)
  • 2011 – 3 million gallons of gasoline

Gasoline Displacement by Plug-in Electric Vehicles, 2010-2017 (Source:

“When gasoline consumption of conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles is compared with similar sized plug-in vehicles operating on electricity, plug-in vehicles on the road displaced 216 million gallons of gasoline in 2017. Gasoline displacement from plug-in vehicles is about 39% more than it was in 2016 and about twice as much as 2015. The gasoline displacement from BEVs versus PHEVs was split almost evenly in 2012 and 2013 but BEVs accounted for 60% of the gasoline displacement by 2017.”
Note: Includes only light vehicles.

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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69 Comments on "Plug-In Electric Cars Displaced 216 Million Gallons Of Gas In U.S. In 2017"

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Just to be fair, how much more coal was burned?

Go back to Breitbart you troll.

Never Mind about the coal or natural gas burning… Or fish killed in hydroelectric dams, birds killed in wind turbines, those do not fit the narrative of this story so we just ignore that. Actually I like EV’s because they are fun to drive and peaceful, environmentally I am not so sure either way.

So Dave, I can see that you are now posting reinforcing FUD under other usernames now.

What is next, investing 100k into BYD?

Oh wait, you already did that!

Environmentally the difference is pretty extreme. You can choose any reason you like to do the right thing, but the facts are as clear as they get on the environmental benefits both locally and globally.

And if you don’t appreciate less carbon dioxid in the atmosphere then at least appreciate the much lesser risk of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and other trivial stuff like dementia.

Dave doesn’t have to worry about that trivial stuff…

” other trivial stuff like dementia.”
Obviously for Dave it’s too late…

How extreme ? The electricity had to come from one of three, nat gas, coal or oil. You pick.

I pick solar, wind, tidal and hydro!

Dave showing his true colors…i knew you had it in you, man! Thank you for confirming my suspicions! Now crawl back under your rock.

Agree, his true colors are only concerned with his bank account for sure.

Here in Ontario absolutely none. Coal stations completely phased out. I accidentally clicked the thumbs up instead of down.

I would say significantly less considering how much electricity it takes to refine all of that gas.

With the amount of solar and wind power generated by the same folks who buy electric cars the amount of coal burned went down. Green electricity growth has outpaced EV car electricity consumption.

EV owners aren’t just cleaning up dirty oil they are also cleaning up the grid too with their solar and wind. If you aren’t going to join in helping fix the problem at least thank the folks who are


8 months out of the year my power usage from the grid is less than that of the typical American household daily electricity usage, thanks to Solar + Tesla PowerWalls!

The other 4 months, I am able to get through peak hours of the evening with coverage from the PowerWalls, and light power usage through the night.

That’s with my house + Nissan Leaf charging!

The result of Solar + Tesla PowerWalls ended up with the utility company coming out to my house thinking either the meter was broken, or that I had bypassed the meter completely. Their findings – everything was as it should be!!

Bye coal!! I don’t use you!

Taking a wild stab at it, you might produce somewhere around 5-10 times more solar power than you use to drive your Leaf around. Not only have you displaced all your gasoline emissions, you’ve produced enough solar power to net-charge a handful of other Leafs too.

You’re exactly what the fossil fuel mafia wants to destroy thank you for caring about our planet

Doing some back of napkin math, I could do this with “idealized” potential energy math, but its easier with just some averages – given the average car mileage is at 25 mpg (from 2017) EPA data, and the average electric car at around 3 miles/ kWh 216 MM gal @ 25 miles/gal = 5.4 billion electric miles @ 3 miles/kWh = 1800 MM kWh (or about 1.8TWh) The study this data is from came up with 5.9 billion electric miles – and 1.9 TWh – So I was close… See: Given 2460 kWh / ton of coal burned – That’s assuming 40% efficiency, modern plants may do better – See: Using 1.9 TWh and with the grid using only 30% for coal generation, that 570 million kWh from coal, I come up with about 231,000 tons of coal Lets round down to 200,000 tons of coal, given lots of folks with electric cars, have solar panels, buy green power, live in CA, are near hydo, etc. – A modern coal train carries about 15,000 tons per train, so 200 K tons of coal is about 13 train loads – Over a year, we’re talking 1 full coal train/month,… Read more »

Hate to reply to my own thread – but making a few corrections based on JelloSlug’s comments –

It’s about 4-6kWh to refine each gallon, so using an average of 5 kWh – so saving 216MM gals is 1.08 TWh saved, by less to refine – so 1.9 TWh – 1.08 TWh = 820 MM kWh of electricity produced for transport, at 30% coal on the grid, thats 246 MM kWh from coal

Which is just about 100,000 tons, – Round down for folks with solar, and “green folks” that have EV’s care about where their power comes from – so say 85,000 tons, or about 6 train loads (1 train every other month).

Given the total coal output in 2017 is 720 MM tons, were talking about a 0.013% increase –
Bottom line, given the savings in refining, not all that much extra coal is burned, considering the entire country, and that 70% of the grid, isn’t coal based. And this isn’t considering the “enegry” and CO2 savings from moving power on the grid, versus trucks and ships to physically transport oil and refined product.

“Hate to reply to my own thread – but making a few corrections”

I think your average of 3 miles per kWh is low but more significantly half your plugins are sold in CA which is at 4.4% for coal last year.That alone is going to drop your estimate by nearly half.

I was being conservative, so my numbers are likely high.. Also, the 3 kWh/mile part of the calculation got me to 1.8 TWH, and the actual number is 1.9 TWh, so while I’m doing a lot of “country wide averages”, as I didn’t want to get into state by state numbers, I don’t think I’m off by 50% – Regardless, it’s not a lot of coal.. That all said, looking at the 1.4 B US annual gallons of gas, 216 M gals isn’t a huge dent either. End of the day, time is on the EV side, renewable power is are getting cheaper each year, and coal usage continues to decline, and EV’s continue to grow as a percentage of car sales. They just need to grow a bit faster. After reading at the WSJ all the Tesla bashing comments, I’m almost glad when then $7.5K rebate ends, yes, sales will take a short term dip, but long term, it just removes one more argument that folks against EVs (along with the long tailpipe discussion above). Personally, I favor a carbon tax, that gets to the root of the problem, but I never seeing that being politically feasible.

“was being conservative, so my numbers are likely high..”

I guess it isn’t as obvious as I thought so let’s walk thru it. You have 30% US electricity from coal. CA has 50% of plugins and gets 4.4% of electricity from coal. CA has 1/8th of the US population but uses about 1/10th of the US electricity. That means the US excluding CA gets abit over 33% of their electricity from coal. Our weighted average for the US relative to plugins would be a bit over 16.6%. Comparing that with the 30% you used means your’re off by between 44-45%. In my book 44% is almost half. That is only factoring in CA. The states that come in next by percentages of plugins are HI, WA, and OR and all of them are below the national average with respect to using coal for electricity.

Is your number of 1.4B gallons off by a factor of 100?

Probably none, coal is expensive.

“Just to be fair, how much more coal was burned?”

Per EIA coal burned for electricity declined in US.
Perhaps a more apropos question would be how many windmills and solar panels did this necessitate.

To be perfectly honest, and to my surprise, there was a slight uptick in coal production in 2017.. – You comment about coal burned for electricity declining, year over year, is accurate

What really did surprise me, is the projects thru 2050 are essentially flat, which I really don’t understand, but the above link lays it out fairly clearly. Coal power is roughly at 30% day (2nd to NG), and is expected to drop to 22% by 2050 – I would have expected more, actually, in 30 years.

The life of a coal plant is 40-60 years (unless converted to NG)

There was a small uptick in US coal production but only because of an increase in US exports. Coal for domestic electricity production declined and is set to drop further in 2018 and 2019.


American coal is relativly expensive in comparison to other coal exporters but the USA has excess capacity that can be brought online realtivly quickly. Bad weather in Queensland, Australia and new restrictions on domestic producers of coal in China lead to a spike in US coal demand in 2017 to meet the shortfall caused by reduced output from those 2 nations. EIA predictions are based on what industry tells the EIA and on economic modelling based on what industry tells the EIA. Generally experts who know about coal work in the coal industry and don’t believe that the industry is going to shrink rapidly, they are not decieving anyone they just honestly believe that renewable energy and natural gas will grow slower than predicited by others. If you look at what BP think they are prdicting a 70% reduction in coal use over a similar time period to the EIA but then BP are still suggesting there will be reasonable demand for oil in the UK even after the ban on ICE vehicles in 2040. I think a lot of the problem comes down to the old adage “a person finds it very difficult to understand an effect that means… Read more »

“Coal power is roughly at 30% day (2nd to NG), and is expected to drop to 22% by 2050 – I would have expected more, actually, in 30 years”

It almost certainly will drop more. Increasingly we’re seeing unexpected announcements of early closures even though plants are licensed for operation. This is simply because continued operation is no longer cost competitive with solar, wind, and NG. In the Southwest solar and wind PPAs are coming in at or below the marginal cost of the coal alone. Forget about the plant or operation.

Even if the electricity were generated by coal, since the power plant is far away from city centers, it’s still cleaner for city dwellers. Additionally, you can sign up pure green electricity plan by some providers! I did it!

To be REALLY fair, just how much of each tankful of gas one burns comes from Saudi Arabia —birthplace and/or founders/funders of Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban and the Wahabbi ideology that has poisoned the Islamic world?

In my case I saved just about 1000 gallons of gas I would have put in my SUV and instead put straight wind power into my EV. So, none, to answer your question.

Since about half of those PEVs are sold in California, and CA grid has very little to no coal, the amount of electricity depending on coal is very small.

I’m sure you are also interested in how much LESS coal was burned because those 216 gallons of gasoline didn’t need to be refined.

(Oil companies hide how much electricity they use, but given estimates a Tesla Model X uses less electricity per mile than a Ford Expedition.)

Not only gasoline, think oil changes, filters, thumbs up to EV’s !!!!

ICEs may be quite inefficient, but coal and gas power stations DO have industrial grade filters. Whole point of going electric is that even if coal and gas stay in energy mix, we can put more effective filters on a few power plants at a lower cost.

Oil for oil changes did go down though 😉

And saving on brake pads with regen. Less brake dusts in the air also.

Progress, but that still works out to just over 5 million barrels of oil – about 6 hours worth of the US’s total 2017 consumption of 7.26 BILLION barrels of oil. EVs are not a threat to Big Oil,,,yet.

Big oil perceives it as a threat why do you think tesla is always being beaten up on wall street cable shows and periodicals. Tesla is to big oil as black people are to white people BIG THREAT BELIEVE ME CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS THANKS FOR CARING

WTF? – “Tesla is to big oil as black people are to white people”

I’m not even sure I understand that analogy, let alone try to reply..

If you go by the data tesla is not a threat to big oil and black people are not a threat to white people however, big oil perceives tesla as a threat and white people perceive black people as a threat.CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

thats a nice tack, use the support of a liberal issue to make subtle digs on another. good to see trolls using some creativity!

I was about to reply with the same message but I notice your figure is much higher. To compare apples to apples here: US consumption of gasoline is “only” 3.4 BILLION gallons per year. So, yeah, still got quite aways to go.

Using your own source it was cited as 143.85 billion GALLONS of gas (or about 3.40 billion barrels)
so 216 M / 143 B, were talking a displacement of 0.15% – or about 99.85% to go…

Sorry for the typo (should have c/p) but I hope the provided link served to curb some confusion.

More like 18 hours, but still very small. 319 million gallons of gas consumed daily in the U.S.
It’s pointless to use barrels of oil since not all oil is refined into gasoline.

but that shows us what dent its inflicting on the daily demand..

Sure, and it keeps rising, so next year it will be a couple days worth of gas, then a week, etc…

Just read that the gasoline consumption in 2017, in US, was about 3.4 BILLION barrels. 216 million gallons does not seem to have an impact… But the (displacement) trend is important.

“U.S. motor gasoline consumption peaked at 142 billion gallons in 2007. In each year since, American drivers have used less gasoline. In 2012, gas use came in at 134 billion gallons, down 6 percent off the high mark.Mar 28, 2013”

And it looks like since 2007 to 2017 EVs have displaced about 600 million gallons of gasoline so far coming from a slow crawl in 2011. But the next three years, 2018, 2019, 2020 should displace 300, 500 and 800 million gallons respectively, when finally US major automakers actually offer viable longer range EVs.

PHEV’s will also serve in greatly reducing gasoline consumption too.

True, and coming electric trucks, peak car, and higher gas prices this Summer, will help too.
People do tend to drive a lot less when gas prices rise.

Even if the electricity were generated by coal, since the power plant is far away from city centers, it’s still cleaner for city dwellers. Additionally, you can sign up pure green electricity plan by some providers! I did it! Many green energy providers!

I drove 5000 miles almost exclusively on electricity and saved 100 gallons by plug in my Prius Plugin every chance I got in last two years, that’s based on 50 mpg of Prius. I had a SUV which I parked almost all the time now and that car was only good for 20 mpg, so that’s 250 gallons!

216 million gallons, average fuel delivery truck hold 9,000 gallons so that’s like 24,000 delivery’s not made burning diesel at about 7 miles to the gallon , who knows average distance from fuel depot, but again it’s just not about gasoline! This all adds up pretty quickly into substantial numbers overall.

How many trucks carried diesel to power the tesla superchargers?

About as many facts that the Eloonatic troll puts into his FUD arguments here!

Thats about 19,000 barrels of oil per day.

1 barrel oil = ~31 gal gasoline (unleaded and diesel)
216,000,000gal / 31 gal/barrel / 365 day/year = 19089.70 barrel/day

Good so far, but the growth isn’t fast enough. We need to save that much each and every week…

You Americans need to stop buying EVs. If you continue buying them, how will i be able to sell my oil at a profit and how will I be able to hack your elections?

Your friendly Russian autocrat, Vladimir

Considering that is 0.2% of what we use, it all helps out.

That is 14,090 barrels of oil a day NOT burned. That needs to be multiplied by 1000 to tank the oil industry.

What power source was used to charge these batteries ? Coal, Natural Gas or Oil? Gee – displaced ?? Idiots.

“Coal, Natural Gas or Oil”
That’s all you know? Idiot!

renewable power plant production has increased at a far higher level than EV adoption rates so you have nothing to worry about. Not that you would anyway.

Excellent report but coverage is US only. Is global impact available? US is 5% of population.
Also does fuel displacement include energy needed for battery recharge, lubricants (motor oils and fluids), smaller tires needed, impact to roadways, etc?
EV impact may be greater