Electric vehicles are more efficient than internal combustion engines for several reasons. First, because the electric motor is directly connected to the wheels, it consumes no energy while the car is at rest or coasting. Secondly, the regenerative braking system can return as much as half an electric vehicle's kinetic energy to the storage cells. And thirdly, the motor converts more than 90% of the energy in its storage cells to motive force, whereas internal-combustion drives use less than 25% of the energy in a gallon (3.75 L) of gasoline.
One can recharge an EV for approximately one-third the cost to refuel a gasoline-powered car. The average monthly fuel cost for a typical EV driver is less than $15, while gasoline runs around an estimate $50. Although time of day and utility rates may minimally affect monthly total, the cost of recharging an electric car overnight costs less than a large cup of coffee.
The world land speed record for an electric car is just under 200 mph (320 km/h) as of 1996. Many operators of heavy vehicles, such as subway trains, locomotives and mining equipment, prefer electric motors because of the amount of instantaneous torque they offer; gasoline engines have to build power before they reach the peak rpm range that allows them to shift gears. Additionally, the average daily use of private vehicles in major U.S. cities is 40 mi (64 km); today's EVs can handle these trips with ease. An EV averages 40-100 mi (34-160 km) per charge.
Recognizing the need for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), U. S. President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 13148 entitled "Greening the Government Through Federal Fleet and Transportation Efficiency" on the twenty fifth anniversary of Earth Day, April 21, 2000. The executive order sought to ensure that the federal government exercises leadership in the reduction of petroleum consumption through improvements in fleet fuel efficiency and the use of AFVs and alternative fuels. This includes procurement of innovative vehicles capable of large improvements in fuel economy such as hybrid electric vehicles. In 2003, President George W. Bush called for a federal institute to advance fuel cell development and use.