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Research Recap, April 4: Electric Vehicle Savings, Climate-Changing Cities, Biofuels and Food Supply

GTM Research studies the monetary savings of electric vehciles. Photo by GTM Research.

GTM Research studies the monetary savings of electric vehciles. Photo by GTM Research.

Welcome to “Research Recap,” our series highlighting recent reports, studies and other findings in sustainable transportation policy and practice, in case you missed it.

Save Gas, Money and the Planet

A new report by GTM Research maps out gasoline prices, electricity prices and the average savings of switching from gas to electric-powered vehicles.  Though gas prices and electricity rates vary greatly by region, the report found dramatic numbers for overall personal monetary savings. In France,  switching to an electric vehicle would save $5.71 per gallon; in the U.S., the switch would save $2.05 per gallon.

Future Electric-Vehicle Figures

GTM Research also estimates that 3.8 million electric cars will be on the road worldwide by 2016, with 1.5 million in Europe, 1.5 million in the United States, and 760,000 in Asia. California currently has the highest proportion of electric vehicles in the country, comprising 11 percent of the total number of electric vehicles on U.S. roads. The report predicts this figure to grow to 20 percent.

Cities: The Crux of Climate Stability

The United Nation’s Human Settlement Program released a new report, “Hot Cities: Battle-Ground for Climate Change,” outlining the case for curbing carbon emissions in cities. The study found that cities comprise 2 percent of the world’s land and contribute to 70 percent of all greenhouse gases. In a comparison between European and North American cities, the study reports that European cities tend to be more compact and possess more effective public transportation systems, as well as have lower car ownership, car usage rates and smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Biofuels Strain Food Supply

The recent increase in biofuel production has had dire consequences for world hunger, suggests a paper published in the spring 2011 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Using statistics from the World Health Organization, the paper found that the recent increase in biofuel production above 2004 levels likely strained the global food supply, increased food prices, and led to high death tolls—roughly 192,000 deaths in 2010—and increases in disease resulting in a loss of 6.7 million disability-adjusted-life-years in 2010.

And in case you missed last week’s April Fool’s joke…

Pedestrian-on-Pedestrian Crash Data

One component of the New York City Department of Transportation’s recent traffic study found that there were more than 38 million pedestrian-on-pedestrian crashes in 2010.

“Frankly, we were just shocked to find out that the average New Yorker is involved in 4.6 pedestrian-on-pedestrian crashes every year,” Deputy Transportation Commissioner Gustav Andando said. “The national average walking speed is 3 m.p.h. In New York, it’s way higher, at 4.4 m.p.h., so this is an especially dangerous epidemic for us here.”

According to the spoof study, the “spike in ped-to-ped collisions” are largely due to “texting while walking, iPod shuffling while walking and other mobile electronics usage while on the go.”

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