EV Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Union of Concerned Scientists recently released of a study of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from an electric car powered by the local electric grid. The results demonstrated that on average throughout the United States, an electric car produces the same amount of green house gases as an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle with a rating of 87 miles per gallon (mpg).

The amount of greenhouse gases vary a lot from location to location.  Areas such as upstate New York rely upon a lot of renewable energy have an effective 135 mpg.  Drivers in Kansas using the electric grid and driving a Model S are producing the same CO2 as an ICE vehicle getting 31 mpg. Unfortunately the states in the middle of the country still use coal, which has a high level of carbon dioxide emissions.

I am driving my car without producing any greenhouse gases as it is powered by rooftop solar.  If I were to connect to my local grid, the effective greenhouse gases produced would be equivalent to an ICE getting 77 mpg.

The study acknowledges that emissions are produced during vehicle production and disposal and the amount is larger with larger batteries.  But the Tesla Model S offset occurs below 20,000 miles on a national average basis.

To find out how much greenhouse gas you are producing driving your electric vehicle on your local grid, simply enter the model of electric vehicle and your zip code.

Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions


7 thoughts on “EV Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  1. Great summary, thank you! I also live off-grid which makes for a bit of a charging challenge. I’d be interested in comparing notes if you like, I can be reached at the attached email. Thanks!

  2. There’s no way. This study is flawed, either accidentally or most likely intentionally. Here’s why. Did researchers account for all the toxins produced in pumping up the oil when it’s drilled? What about the freighters crossing the oceans that are bringing the oil to where it needs to be? Then it all has to be refined into gasoline. Then it is trucked to all the gas stations. Big Oil hates electric and will do anything and everything it can to stop it or slow it down.

    • I think you bring a good point in this. I think the study likely decided to not include the cost of delivering the oil as that is so variable. Technically in California we have both oil wells and refineries so a few people perhaps would have less transportation costs. Even though we have some of our own oil, California still imports 70% of the oil that goes into our vehicles. I think if the study included those numbers too, it would have gotten more flack. The numbers are generally very strongly convincing for most places in the U.S. except for states relying on coal.

      I agree with you on fighting the “merchants of doubt” … and sometimes the best way is to keep the numbers super simple like in this study. I’ve been having a discussion with a non-religious engineer friend who still is not convinced that climate change is man-made. But at least he still wants to talk to me about it and brings it up.

      • No this is not that forum but it is related to why I write this blog. It has been very interesting to watch someone who has been so influenced by the media.

  3. And I forgot one thing, a large percentage of the lithium batteries are recyclable, further enhancing their efficiency in terms of emissions.

    • Another thing, probably most important. Car charging is mostly done at night when the power plants are producing excess capacity that is wasted anyway! Net zero pollution.

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