As we see companies like GE and Better Place pushing towards the adoption of electric vehicles, we also see our governments sitting back waiting for the industry to work itself out while they pursue broader energy policy initiatives — or perhaps abandon them in the fight. Well, a new research paper by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy discovered that perhaps the best policy of all is aggressive adoption of electric cars. The paper found that electric car adoption could reduce our use of foreign oil and cut our emissions output much more than any other proposed policies.

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As the country moves forward to deliberate on energy and climate policy, consideration must be given to what policies would best accomplish the stated goals for U.S. policy — a reduction in the need for imported oil and in greenhouse gas emissions,” the paper states in its summary. The paper goes on to study the amount of oil that would be reduced by quick adoption of electric vehicle technology country-wide. Along with the new fuel efficiency standards that are being enacted, which will save 3 million barrels of oil a day by 2050 if 30 percent of all vehicles were electric, we would save an extra 2.5 million barrels of oil a day plus 7% off of our national emissions. The government’s current plan would only reduce them by 4%.

Along with attempting to move past the “myths that currently plague the U.S. energy and climate-policy debate“, the study is suggesting that the government move towards mandating that a certain amount of cars on the market must be electric vehicles in order to hit the current goals that it has set out for this country in terms of energy consumption and emissions. They note that electric vehicles would be more effective than carbon capping and carbon tax plans. They also note that incentives for natural gas use could be useful in kicking our coal habits — although you know, fracking for natural gas isn’t that much better than mountain top mining for coal. All considered, this is the kind of study we’d love to plop on the President’s — and every member of congress’ — desk in order to guide them into a healthier energy policy debate.

+ Baker Institute for Public Policy

Via Science Daily