Electric Vehicles

Project Description


Electric vehicles are gaining in popularity as clean, reliable alternatives to gasoline-powered automobiles. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) present an opportunity to reduce local emissions, expand the U.S. clean fuel sector, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

At the turn of the century, steam and electricity were both considerably more popular as transportation fuels than gasoline as both were more readily available to consumers and manufacturers. Biofuels also powered many early vehicles. Rapid improvement to roads and fueling station availability in the 1910s and 1920s, combined with a precipitous decrease in gasoline prices, paved the way for gasoline as America’s transportation fuel of choice.

The ability to transport Americans quickly and cheaply at great distances heralded the triumph of gasoline over electricity. Electric vehicle production remained essentially dormant from the 1920s through the 1990s, with scattered attempts to manufacture electric vehicles in the 1960s and thereafter failing. The California Air Resource Board (CARB) attempted to create a market with 1990’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. The ZEV mandate was ultimately weakened by CARB, and it did not produce a meaningful impact on gasoline’s dominance over transportation fuels. It did set the stage for electricity’s re-introduction into the market.


Sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have steadily increased throughout the 2000s and now represent a significant segment of new vehicles sold in the United States. Hybrid electric sales in the United States rose over 400% between the years 2003 and 2005, and have continued to trend steadily upwards. On the heels of hybrid electric successes, BEVs and PHEVs have been introduced into the marketplace. Just as hybrid electric vehicles sold limited quantities during their initial years on the market (less than 30,000 total during the first three years of sale), BEVs and PHEVs have sold limited numbers, but also trend upwards.

Project Details



Date Current Project

Renewable Fuels Roadmap

Pace Law School’s Energy and Climate Center has produced the Renewable Fuels Roadmap and Sustainable Biomass Feedstock Supply for New York State (Roadmap) for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Intended to help guide state policy on renewable fuels, the Roadmap was a recommendation from Governor David A Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force report issued in February 2008. The Roadmap evaluates the future of liquid biofuel production and feedstock supplies for transportation purposes in New York State in order to address increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as independence from petroleum usage.

Advanced Biofuels

Part of a series of clean fuels briefs, this was created to explain the current state of the Advanced Biofuel industry and its technological opportunities to state policy makers. This brief includes a short history and a state by state guide of the Northeast and Mid Atlantic incentives, subsidies, and preferential policies used to promote advanced biofuels.