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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why EVs Are Perfect for Oregon - Reason 7: Economy


Oregon has zero oil wells and zero oil refineries. This means that the bulk of every dollar spent on gasoline here leaves the state.

There are about 3.9 million people in Oregon and a similar number of vehicles. Collectively, we Oregonians currently consume about 1.5 billion gallons of gas annually at a cost of about 5.5 billion dollars a year. How much better would our local economy be if that $5+ billion stayed here?

It has been estimated that a dollar spent locally circulates on average between 6 and 15 times before it leaves a region and creates between $5 and $14 in value. This means that the state's economy could be boosted by more than $30 billion if money currently spent on fuel were to be spent locally instead. Capturing even a small part of this can have great impact.

Electric vehicles send "fueling" money to the local utility rather than to an out-of-state multinational corporation. Money spent locally will mean more local jobs and more resources to develop the region's renewable energy portfolio.


Toward this end, in 2011, the Oregon Innovation Council made a significant investment in the state's EV industry by funding a group called Drive Oregon to accelerate EV industry growth within the state. Oregon now has a growing industry consisting of raw material providers, parts & components suppliers, supply chain management, software, engineering & design firms, power electronics, battery management, charging infrastructure manufacturers & installers, vehicle conversions, and ancillary organizations that support the core EV industry.

Oregon now has over 300 firms with at least part of their revenue coming from the EV industry. Drive Oregon's data shows that the EV industry continued to grow during the Great Recession, while other transportation industries suffered enormous losses. It further estimates that the economic activity from Oregon's EV industry created 1,169 jobs, had a total value added of nearly $148 million, generated gross economic activity of $266 million, and provided over $89 million in total employee compensation. The Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) estimates that this had a total impact of 1,579 jobs.

In addition to the increase in economic activity, the industry also generates significant tax revenue for the state and federal governments. NERC estimates total state and local tax revenue of $11.9 million and federal taxes of $20.8 million.


To put it simply, the oil undustry removes money from our region and weakens our economy; whereas, EV adoption means that fueling funds stay local and the EV industry creates jobs and economic growth. “It’s good for the industry and it’s good for your pocketbook,” said Michael Kintner-Meyer, an engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Next: Reason 8: Cooperation