Reduction of Foreign Oil Consumption Using Electric Vehicles15 Mar

During his State of the Union address in January 2011, President Barack Obama declared that the United States should have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. This post addresses two key questions related to this policy goal:

  • To what extent will electric vehicles help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil?
  • Will these vehicles be available any time soon?

Passenger vehicles today are primarily powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) and number nearly 137 million. These engines are heavily dependent on crude oil:

  • 75 percent of crude oil is used for highway transportation
  • 43 percent of crude oil is consumed by passenger cars
  • 63 percent of crude oil is imported

The total U.S. crude oil consumption is 18.771 million barrels per day (b/d)  and 3.8 million is consumed by passenger cars using imported oil (derived from the aforementioned figures: 0.75 x 0.43 x 0.63 x 18, 771,000 b/d).

Using these numbers, the U.S. passenger vehicle fleet powered by ICE consumes approximately 3.8 million b/d of imported oil. If 1 million electric vehicles became part of the passenger vehicle fleet of 137 million vehicles by 2015, then those electric vehicles would be 0.73 percent of the entire passenger vehicle fleet. Thus, electric vehicles would reduce foreign oil imports by 0.0073 x 3.8 million b/d or 27,740 b/d, a mere “drop in the bucket.”

The entire passenger fleet of 137 million would have to be totally powered by electric motors to completely remove foreign oil imports for that vehicle class. “Although electric vehicles sales are forecasted to reach 67% by 2030, they will only account for 24% of the light-vehicle fleet,” according to the Electric Vehilces in the U.S.—A New Model with Forecasts to 2030.

President Obama’s goal of 1 million electric vehicles by 2015 will not have an impact on the United States’ foreign crude oil dependence for decades.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Reduction of Foreign Oil Consumption Using Electric Vehicles”

  1. The “Top Ten” Energy Issues Glossed over by U.S. Mainline Media | JHEverson Consulting Reply

    […] of Reducing Gluttonous Oil Consumption: There are 137M vehicles in the United States that are powered by internal combustion engines. It would take about […]

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

About Dr. Everson

Prior to forming this SBIR consultant practice, Dr. Jeffrey Everson was director of business development for QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group (previously Foster-Miller, Inc.).

Dr. Everson has won and been the principal investigator for several SBIR programs, including a Phase I program for NASA, a Phase I project for the U.S. Air Force, and Phase I and II contracts from the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the Phase II program, he received a Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the best in SBIR achievement.

Previously Dr. Everson held senior scientist positions at Battelle Memorial Institute, The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC), Honeywell Electro Optics Systems Division, and Itek Optical Systems Division.

He holds a PhD in physics from Boston College and a MS/BS in physics from Northeastern University.


For more information about how JHEverson Consulting can help your company with its SBIR and STTR proposals, please contact Jeff Everson.

JHEverson Consulting is based in the Boston area but consults for clients throughout North America. It also is supported by affiliated consultants.