Sunday, August 21, 2016

6 Reasons to Own An Electric Car on Long Island

We have owned our electric hybrid car (a Ford Fusion) for just over two years and we do not regret the purchase. We are getting about 95 miles per gallon which is far better than hybrids and certainly better than conventional cars. Long Island is a perfect place for electric cars. Here's why.

My car plugged in at Hofstra University. Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
1. Long Island's first suburbs were built around the car. We have excellent roadway infrastructure that easily gets us from place to place. However, the infrastructure dates to the 1930's and 40's. It developed before the mega suburban transportation infrastructure of places like Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles. We have lots of parkways and freeways, but they are limited in size and distance. It might not make sense to have an electric car if you have big commutes in the newer suburbs, but on Long Island, the scale is different. Plus, most people take commuter rail if they are going long distances and drive a limited amount of miles and park at a train station.

2. Long Island has a fair number of charging stations and there are efforts to increase this number. If you look at this charging station map from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy from the U.S. Government, you will see that Long Island has one of the densest concentrations of charging stations in the United States. Hofstra University, where I work, has 6 charging stations. There are so many electric cars on campus that there is a competition for the spots.

Many people commute via train. They drive
from home to the train station.
Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
3. Long Island has some of the highest gas prices in the country. It is not uncommon for us to see prices 20-40 cents above the national average (sometimes higher!). While energy electricity prices are also high, the electricity is far cheaper than the gasoline costs.

4. We're an island. We don't drive that much off the island. Manhattan is a barrier that we have to get through if we are going anywhere. If we go to Manhattan, most of us take the train. Thus, we tend to do our driving on the island and do not drive the long distances others might. My range is about 26 miles before I burn gasoline. I could go back and forth to work with limited stops solely on electricity. However, because I have a charging station at work, I can make multiple stops on the way to and from work and still not burn gas unless I have to go longer distances across the island.

5. The hybrid technology which increases energy efficiency under urban driving conditions (lots of breaking) works well on Long Island with its high traffic volume and suburban infrastructure.

6. Long Island has some serious air pollution problems, in part driven by vehicular exhaust. By increasing the number of electric cars on the road we are reducing pollution. Centralized electric production is far less polluting and more efficient than burning gasoline.

Electric cars don't make sense in all settings. But certainly Long Island is one of the best areas in the nation for their use.






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