Lisa Calvi’s article describing her experience driving a Smart fortwo plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) informs readers that not only did she feel “self-righteous about not polluting the atmosphere” but that if the vehicle was plugged-in at work and at home at night, “you’d never have to set wheel in a fuel station again”.
Notwithstanding Ms. Calvi’s enthusiasm for the vehicle, she had little reason to feel self-righteous. Based on NSP’s 2014 emissions data and NRCan’s 2015 combined city-highway fuel-consumption data, the CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) emissions from the electricity generated by Nova Scotia Power for her Smart fortwo PEV exceeded those from Toyota’s Prius (a hybrid-electric vehicle) and were marginally less than those of Honda’s CR-Z (a conventional gasoline vehicle).
Furthermore, while her observation that owners of PEVs would never need to use a fuel station again is true, it obscures the fact that while she was driving her electric vehicle, she was not paying any motive fuel taxes. These taxes, collected on the sale of gasoline, diesel, and propane, are used for the construction and maintenance of Nova Scotia’s highways — the very infrastructure Ms. Calvi will certainly need if she decides to purchase a PEV.
Published in Chronicle-Herald, 13 May 2015