Nevada Drives Toward Clean Cars: Accelerating Efficient Electric Vehicle Deployment Will Deliver Major Benefits for Nevadans

June 22, 2020

Travis Madsen, SWEEP |, 720-669-7488


[CARSON CITY, NV] – Governor Steve Sisolak announced today that Nevada will begin a rulemaking to adopt the Clean Cars Program, a policy that would require automakers to build and deliver more efficient vehicles to Nevada, including more plug-in electric cars and trucks. More than 65 organizations and businesses across the state and nation applauded the move.

“Nevada is driving in the right direction,” said Travis Madsen, Transportation Program Director at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “This policy will help us replace oil produced in other states with electricity generated in Nevada – saving Nevadans billions of dollars, cleaning up our air, and helping to build back our economy even better than it was before the pandemic hit. Thank you to Governor Sisolak for taking this important step forward.”

Using electricity for transportation is one of the best ways Nevada can save energy. Most of the energy in gasoline gets wasted in a typical car, burning off as heat rather than moving the wheels. However, electric cars are about five times as efficient. Much more of the energy in the battery of an electric car actually goes towards getting drivers from point A to point B. And that means real benefits – for our wallets, our health and our climate. Consider:

  • Driving on electricity in Nevada is equivalent to paying about $1.10 per gallon for gasoline. Additionally, electric vehicles don’t need oil changes and have fewer moving parts, so maintenance costs are much lower than conventional cars. That adds up to real savings over time. In Nevada, EV drivers can expect to save between $900 and $1,200 annually on fuel and maintenance costs, totaling between $11,000 and $15,000 over the life of a vehicle.
  • Colorado adopted the Clean Cars Program in 2019. State regulators estimated that the policy will save Coloradans more than $1 billion through 2030. We expect comparable benefits in Nevada, on the order of $500 million in net savings.
  • Nevada imports roughly $4 billion worth of petroleum from out-of-state every year. By switching to electricity, we can keep more of that money in-state, creating local jobs and improving the economy.
  • EVs will even save every Nevadan modest amounts of money on their electricity bills – even if they don’t own an EV. That is because plugging EVs into the grid helps us get more useful work out of our power grid. For example, a recent study of neighboring Arizona found that moving 90 percent of passenger vehicles to electricity by 2050 would cumulatively save Arizonans as much as $9 billion on their electricity bills.
  • Even including emissions from power plants, electric vehicles produce dramatically less health-threatening air pollution – on the order of 99 percent less volatile organic compounds and 85 percent less nitrogen oxides. And they have no tailpipe emissions, which can improve public health especially in communities located near busy roadways, which have long experienced disproportionate impacts from pollution.
  • Electric vehicles are also one of the most important tools Nevada can use to reduce climate-changing pollution. When Nevada reaches 50 percent renewable electricity (no later than 2030 by law), an electric vehicle in the state would perform at a level comparable to a conventional car that gets more than 200 miles per gallon. And EVs will continue to get cleaner as the electricity grid shifts toward cleaner power sources over time. When Nevada hits its goal of 100 percent renewable electricity (no later than 2050), EVs will run with zero pollution from tailpipes and smokestacks.

The auto industry is likely to have more than 500 models of electric vehicles available globally by 2022, including cars, trucks and SUVs. However, Nevada will not necessarily be at the front of the line to receive those vehicles or their benefits. By adopting the Clean Cars Program, Nevada can position itself so that the state will benefit from new, innovative and beneficial clean car technology sooner rather than later.

“Thank you to the leadership and staff at the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection and the Governor’s Office of Energy for all of your hard work to introduce this new policy,” concluded Madsen. “SWEEP looks forward to helping you bring this rulemaking to a successful conclusion – and to delivering the benefits of clean, efficient transportation to all Nevadans.”


The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public-interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information about our programs and other work, please visit