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Energy Key Findings – Jan/Feb 2011

Electric Vehicles: Pros and Cons
Traffic Congestion Costs U.S.
Americans Across Political Lines Show Concern for Climate Change

Electric Vehicles: Pros and Cons

Only one-third of American adults (32%) are familiar with hybrid vehicles, and fewer (25%) are familiar with electric-powered vehicles. Those who say they would consider purchasing an electric vehicle list these benefits and detractors:

  • Being able to run without gasoline (78%)
  • Less pollution from driving (67%)
  • Lack of need for oil changes and tune-ups (60%)


  • Fear of running out of power on the road (71%)
  • Lack of charging stations or not being able to recharge (66%)
  • Limited mileage (59%)

Some 51% also say they would be less likely to buy an electric vehicle if they had to install special charging equipment in their garage.

Traffic Congestion Costs U.S.

Traffic congestion costs Americans $87.2 billion per year in wasted time and fuel, as of 2007, the latest year data are available. The delay which Americans experienced on roadways in 2007 was 4.2 billion hours, up from 0.8 billion hours in 1982. These numbers translate to an average of 36.1 hours of delay per traveler and 24 gallons of wasted gas in 2007, up from 14 hours of delay and nine gallons of wasted gas in 1982.

Average Time and Gas Wasted by a Driver in Traffic Congestion, by Size of Urban Area, 2007

Average Time and Gas Wasted by a Driver in Traffic Congestion, by Size of Urban Area, 2007

Americans Across Political Lines Show Concern for Climate Change

A 2010 poll by Yale University and George Mason University showed that a majority of Americans support greater renewable energy research, regulating carbon dioxide, and expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Specific numbers from this poll include:

  • 85% support funding more research on renewable energy
  • 82% favor tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient cars or solar panels
  • 72% want to establish programs teaching Americans how to save energy
  • 71% support regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant
  • 70% want schools to teach kids about the causes, consequences and potential solutions to global warming; 60% thought there ought to be courses established to teach all Americans about global warming.
  • 61% support the US signing an international treaty requiring the nation to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 90% by 2050.


  • Americans spent an average of $5,477 on gas and automotive expenses in 2009. This breaks down to $3,269 for vehicles and maintenance, and $2,208 for gasoline.
  • There are 682,000 cars, 116,000 taxis and 70,000 trucks traveling New York City daily, at an average speed of eight miles per hour.
  • The average size of an American home was 2,422 square feet in 2009, down slightly from 2,473 in 2008. In 1980 the average size was only 1,700 square feet.

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