NASA Electric Vehicle Trial Shows Drastic Greenhouse Gas Reduction

First Posted: Feb 12, 2014 11:45 AM EST

In response to President Obama's urge to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the State of the Union Address last month, NASA's research program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida has shown great progress by testing electric cars. 

The goal for NASA is to reduce emissions 12.3 percent by 2020 in response to Obama's executive order. The ongoing program at the Kennedy Space Center involves 10 workers who commute daily with their electric cars. Their job is to document how many miles they drove while also recording road and traffic conditions to and from work.

Thus far, the records show that the electric car emits 3/5ths the amount of carbon dioxide per mile in comparison to that which is produced by a regular gasoline fueled car. The current experiment with the 10 drivers is estimated to eliminate over 60,000 pounds of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be sent into the atmosphere. Further information and statistics can be seen in this NASA news release.

The employees at the Kennedy Space Center believe that the most effective way to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions is for drivers to go fully electric. The hybrid cars definitely show improvement compared to gasoline-powered cars, "but if you go electric, that's really where you see the bang for your buck," said Frank Kline, an employee with Kennedy's Sustainability office, in the same NASA news release.

An example of a fully electric car is the Chevy Volt, which can be seen in this Earth Techling article. The workers that are participating in the experiment are receiving free charging costs--which have only accumulated to $148 in three months--to incentivize the use of the cars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This experiment can quickly become an effective way for NASA to reduce their numbers.

The strict mandate initiated by President Obama targets the participation of all federal agencies and will further assess their cooperation by keeping record of gas emissions from sources that are not directly controlled by the agencies, such as traveling (via buses and airplanes) and commutes to and from work. Mr. Kline believes that controlling the emissions through the workers' commutes will drastically help the cause.

To read more regarding the NASA electric car study, check out this NASA news release as well as this Earth Techling article.

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