EVs top rail as largest US transportation user of electricity

Source: By Jack Quinn, E&E News • Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Power consumption from EVs and plug-in hybrids increased by nearly 50 percent last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

A Volkswagen ID.4 electric vehicle (EV) charges via a CCS DC fast charger from Electrify America at a shopping mall parking lot in Torrance, California, on February 23, 2024. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Light-duty vehicles are now the top electricity consumer from the transportation sector. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Electric vehicles outpaced rail in terms of using U.S. power last year, signaling a major shift in the transportation sector, according to new federal data.

For two decades, freight and passenger rail had been the largest transportation user of electricity nationally, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly power report. In 2023, electricity consumption from EVs and plug-in hybrids increased by nearly 50 percent from the previous year, topping 7,000 gigawatt-hours.

Along with showing the pace of EV adoption, the numbers underscore the lack of new electrified rail infrastructure in recent years.

According to EIA, EVs accounted for approximately three times the electricity use of hybrids last year, a ratio that has remained largely unchanged since 2018. California accounted for 34 percent of the EV power consumption, followed by Florida at 6 percent.

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