Everyone knows that electric vehicles (EVs) are cleaner than gas cars, right? Let’s take a closer look.
While an EV doesn't produce any carbon emissions while it is driving, the electricity that charges it does. If that electricity comes from dirty coal, that might produce more carbon than an efficient gas car.
Let's take a look at the numbers:
The amount of CO2 produced by the generation of kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity varies tremendously from place to place.
But what about states that don't have clean energy, but rely mainly on coal for their electricity production?
But not all of us drive Priuses. The average fuel efficiency of cars in the US is about 25 MPG, which works out to 80 lbs of CO2 per 100 miles, which is better than the EV in a dirty coal state.
So yes, given certain conditions, EVs can produce about the same amount CO2 per mile as gas cars.
The good news is that the electric grid is getting cleaner all the time which means that the operation of EVs are continuing to produce less and less carbon emissions. I’m already a fan of my EV - the next step for me is a few solar panels for my room so my drive can be 100% carbon-free.
(These are just my numbers. For a more thorough analysis, check out this post from the Union of Concerned Scientists)