Some 1 percent of vehicles in San Francisco are electric. (Courtesy photo)

Electric cars in SF by the numbers

There are 425,000 cars registered in San Francisco, of which nearly 5,000 are electric vehicles, according data released Thursday by the Department of the Environment.

When looking at the percentage of cars by zip code, South Beach has 2.9 percent electric vehicles, or 270 out of some 9,200 total vehicles in that neighborhood – the highest percentage of any one zip code in The City.

By comparison, of the 24,000 cars in the Sunset’s 94116 zip code, 1.1 percent are electric. Over in the Sunset’s 94122 zip code, 0.7 percent of the 30,000 cars are electric.

One percent of the 32,000 cars in the Mission and Bernal neighborhoods, the 94110 zip code, are electric. In Hunters Point, the 94124 zip code, 0.6 percent of the 28,000 cars registered there are electric.

These numbers are important from an environmental standpoint since vehicles are a large contributor to the overall greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco, and the data could determine policy decisions around land use and location of charging stations.

“The movement of people and goods in The City via cars and trucks represents 40 percent of The City’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jessie Denver, energy program manager for the Department of the Environment. “Today there are over 400,000 vehicles registered in San Francisco and more than 100,000 inbound vehicles via commuters.”

Denver predicted electric vehicle ownership will begin to rise as more models that cost less and have a longer range continue to come onto the market more frequently.

The data was presented during Thursday’s Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee hearing on The City’s own municipal fleet, as requested by Supervisor Katy Tang.

The City has 2,754 vehicles in its fleet, of which 859 are sedans. Of the sedans, half are hybrids and 210 run on gasoline. Eighty-five percent of the sedans average less than 30 miles a day.

The focus of Thursday’s discussion regarding The City’s fleet was on sedans, though that may soon shift to pick up trucks as well. Denver said there was an effort ongoing with other cities like Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles, and LA issued a request of information for auto manufacturers to build an electric light-duty pickup truck. “Currently there is no electric pickup truck on the market,” Denver said.

Tang vowed to green up the fleet more and said it was vital “we constantly work as a city together to adapt to whatever newer and improved technologies that there are so that we continue to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.”

Of course, not having a car is better for the environment, and Supervisor Aaron Peskin suggested a thinning out of the fleet may be possible based on the data.

“The graphs are interesting relative to whether or not there is an ability to shrink our fleet, particularly given there are so many vehicles that seem to travel just a handful of mile,” he said.

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