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USA: Crunching The Numbers Behind Pros, Cons Of Electric Cars

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – We did a story this morning about electric cars and gas prices. Time and technical problems had me skim over a lot of the information and numbers I used in the story.

The first place to start is probably to explain the numbers and where I got them. Watch the piece –– both parts are embedded above –– and I’ll break those down for you.

The U.S. Department of Transportation provided the national averages in commute miles and mileage. Those numbers are 32 miles (the total for both ways) and 17.1 mpg (this includes trucks, SUVs and cars).

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute studies all things traffic and is a tremendous resource. They provided me with the number of total commuters in the DFW area: 2.9 million people.

Using a national average of 1.2 commuters per vehicle, this works out to 2.3 million cars, trucks and SUVs in the commute.

I applied the number of commuting vehicles to the average commute miles and average mpg numbers. Then I took the average price per gallon of gas from the AAA site for the DFW area. Yesterday that price was $3.57 a gallon.

So here is the big number.

For the commute today in the greater DFW, the cost in gasoline was approximately $15.5 million dollars. Since each gallon of gasoline burned in a car engine creates about six pounds of CO2 gas, about 13,000 tons of CO2 were emitted in the air.

This doesn’t include any of the other pollutants, mostly importantly the ones that produce ozone in the lowest level of the atmosphere (ozone is needed high in the atmosphere to protect us from UV radiation; it is bad for our lungs at the surface).

The DFW area is currently out of compliance in regards to our air quality because of ozone.

So $15.5 million dollars spent and 13,000 tons of carbon spewed to get us all to work and back


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