Study: Plug-In Hybrids May Cut Emissions
By By Ken Thomas, AP
July 19, 2007

WASHINGTON -- If motorists used rechargeable "plug-in" hybrid-electric vehicles in large numbers, the U.S. could see a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century, says a study released Thursday.

Researchers estimated that with a market share of about 60 percent or more plug-ins, the vehicles could help reduce approximately 450 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions a year by 2050. The reductions would be the equivalent of removing 82 million passenger cars, or about one-third of the cars currently on the road.

The study was conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit research group, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. It was based on an analysis of data from the federal Energy Information Agency and EPRI.

"Plug-in hybrids are a major solution to the climate change crisis that we're facing and the electric utility industry is indeed capable of taking over a large section of the fueling transportation sector without adding significant new capacity," said John Duncan, deputy general manager of Texas-based Austin Energy.

Researchers said a significant increase in plug-ins would lead to only a minor increase in demand for electricity. An increase of 7 percent to 8 percent of electric use would reduce nearly 4 million barrels of oil per day by 2050, said Mark Duvall, program manager with the Electric Power Research Institute and one of the study's authors.

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