It’s summer vacation season, and that means Johnson County residents are looking outside of our communities for some much-anticipated holiday fun! But how much thought have you given to the climate impacts of your vacation travel? Transportation accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and changing how you get to your vacation destination can make a huge difference.  

Electric vehicles are an excellent alternative to traditional gasoline vehicles that can reduce travel-associated carbon emissions by 50-95%. Electric vehicle (EV) registrations have surged over the last decade in Iowa, with Johnson County being the second largest market for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) in the state, according to an Iowa Department of Transportation report 

With gas prices continuing to increase during the summer vacation season, long-distance travel with an electric vehicle can be a more economical option than a traditional gas vehicle, as well as climate-conscious! The US Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center provides an Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locations map, where you can map your route and find EV chargers on the way to your destination by clicking the button in the top-right corner. Looking for EV charging while on vacation? Find nearby stations, types of plugs, and check in with other EV drivers on PlugShare 

Johnson County has been a leader in building out EV infrastructure in Iowa. In Iowa City alone, the number of unique vehicles using public EV charging stations has risen 800% in since the end of 2018. Data from the Iowa City Climate Action and Outreach office shows that the number of unique drivers is rising, meaning that more people are purchasing electric vehicles than ever before. They anticipate that the number will increase even more as car manufacturers bring additional EVs onto the market.  

The estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from electric vehicles charged at Iowa City public charging stations is 36,068 kilograms of CO2E in 2021 alone, equivalent to over 4,000 gallons of gasoline. 2022 is looking to be a record-breaking year for EV charging in the city, with over 21,000 kilograms of GHG emissions saved between just January and May of this year.  

The Iowa DOT has recently received $51 million in funds from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act specifically for building out Iowa’s EV charging infrastructure. The DOT is conducting a survey of Iowa residents’ opinions on EV charging infrastructure and how/where to prioritize its growth. The survey ends June 24th. Take the survey here.

Curious to learn more about EVs in Iowa City? Iowa City Climate Action Analyst, Daniel Bissell, shared information about EV charging and the new Iowa City EV bus fleet at the 2021 JCED Tour.