The Emission Footprint of Electric Vehicles Depends On How You Get Your Power

State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States

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We’ve been hearing about this for a while but the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCC) have put it to paper (kind of) with their “State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States.” Their research suggests that depending on how electricity is generated (coal, hydro, solar etc.) where you live in the United States, electric vehicles (EV) are responsible for producing more or less emissions relative to gas powered vehicles. In parts of the country that derive most of their electricity from non-renewable resources (ie coal, natural gas), the areas in dark blue on the map above, EVs have an equivalent fuel economy above 30 mpgs when compared to a gas powered auto. In areas in light blue, EV’s have a fuel efficiency equivalent greater than 50 mpgs.

Here are the main points from the UCC report:

  1. Nearly half of Americans (45%) live in the “best” regions where EVs produce lower global warming emissions than even the most fuel-efficient gasoline hybrids on the market today (greater than 50 mpg).
  2. Another third (37%) live in “better” areas where EVs produce emissions comparable to the best gasoline hybrid vehicles (41 – 50 mpg).
  3. A minority (18%) reside in “good” regions where emissions from EVs are comparable to the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline vehicles (31 – 40 mpg).

The UCC study has been well received and initial cost aside, going with an Electric Vehicle sounds like a good, cost-saving decision just about any place you live. [UCC]

Related information: Lifetime gasoline and fuel cost comparison for EV, Hybrids and Gas-Powered Vehicles

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