10/24/2013 01:49 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2013

Electric Vehicles Kick into High Gear: 8 States 3.3 Million New Oil-Free Cars

Today a group of eight governors announced a landmark initiative to put 3.3 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. That's a lot of cars -- more than five times the number of cars the nation's best-selling Ford F-Series pickup sold in 2012 -- that will use no oil. The eight states are California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. To put it in perspective, these states combined represent nearly one-quarter of the vehicle market in the United States.

Passenger cars and trucks are responsible for nearly half of our nation's oil consumption and one-fifth of our carbon pollution. Even using energy to power plug-in vehicles from today's electricity sources, EVs are already significantly lower in greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles. And as we shift to more renewable sources of power, these emissions savings will grow even more dramatic.

The eight states announcing this bold initiative will speed the adoption of electric vehicles through a range of strategies. These states will ensure drivers have convenient access to charging stations and coordinate building codes so that new buildings will be more likely to have charging facilities. Each state will lead the way by setting a goal for procuring electric vehicles in their own government fleet, and together they will develop joint education programs. By coordinating through a joint task force, these states will ensure the success of their Zero Emission Vehicle programs.

The momentum behind electric vehicles is growing. Today there are more electric vehicles on the road than ever before, and the number is growing quickly. Sales of plug-in electric vehicles tripled from 2011 to 2012, and in the first half of 2013 alone, sales of electric vehicles doubled compared to that time last year. At Sierra Club, we've seen enthusiasm for electric vehicles grow nationwide. Just last month we co-hosted National Plug-In Day, where more than 35,000 people attended events in 98 cities across the country.

This exciting partnership will build on the success of recently adopted fuel efficiency and emissions standards. For years, the Sierra Club, other environmental organizations, consumer and labor groups, and many others worked hard to ensure the adoption of federal vehicle standards that will double the efficiency of new passenger vehicles to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Today's announcement will build upon these landmark standards and ensure that not only will our cars use less gasoline in the future, many of them won't use gas at all.