DO TELL: You May Not Need an Electric Vehicle After All.

Toyota just released a study showing that we don’t need EVs to dramatically lower carbon emissions. According to the study, all that is really needed is a fuel economy (eco) mode component in cars.

By covering 400,000 miles in eco mode, Toyota was able to demonstrate a savings of 5,091 gallons of gasoline and $18,304 in fuel costs when matched against the national average. Tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide reduced by 26%. Studies have shown that if continuously in eco mode a vehicle can save at least 2-3 mpg, which amounts to five or ten percent.

This could be a game changer.

Of course, there are drawbacks or modest inconveniences of employing the eco mode function. In order to use less fuel, eco mode requires the car adjust its throttle response, shift earlier than usual, and keep the engine running at lower RPMs. The car is less responsive with this reduction in power output.

But this is much less invasive than forcing the auto industry to manufacture electric vehicles by demonizing the fossil fuel industry and compelling the EV market to be heavily dependent on subsidies and tax credits. Such a combination is hardly a recipe for success. We are not ready to go fully electric, and may never be.

I leave my car in Eco most of the time, except when I’m off-road or want to put it in Sport to have a little fun on twisties — not that a Jeep is ever all that sporty. Milage is noticeably better and driving with Eco’s limits probably sets a good example for my 17-year-old with his still-fresh license.