Electric Vehicles Are Cleaner Than Gasoline Vehicles (New Fact Sheet)

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Originally published on Union for Concerned Scientists.

Driving an electric vehicle (EV) results in less global warming emissions than the average gasoline-fueled vehicle. As the US electricity grid gets cleaner (by shifting away from coal and adding solar and wind power), the benefits of EVs compared with gasoline vehicles will continue to grow.

UCS analysis over the past nine years demonstrates this trend in action: in 2012, less than half the people in the United States lived in a region where the average EV produced less emissions than a gasoline car with a fuel economy rating of 50 mpg — today, nearly everyone does. This reinforces the role that EVs will play as a key solution to reducing the US transportation sector’s contribution to climate change.

More highlights from the report:

Using the most recent data available, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) calculated the total emissions for refueling and driving gasoline and electric vehicles and found that the average EV produces global warming pollution equal to a gasoline vehicle that gets 88 miles per gallon (mpg) — significantly better than the most efficient gasoline car available in the United States today (58 mpg) and far cleaner than the average new gasoline car (31 mpg) or truck (21 mpg) (EPA 2020a; EPA 2020b).

Our current estimate for EV emissions is almost 10 percent lower than our previous estimate two years ago (Reichmuth 2018). And 94 percent of people in the United States now live where driving an EV produces less emissions than a gasoline car that gets 50 mpg.

As the electricity grid continues to get cleaner, EVs — both new and used — will get cleaner as well.

BMW i3 charging at an EVgo fast charger in South Carolina. Photo by Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica.
Tesla Model 3 charging in Florida. Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica

Download the full fact sheet for more.

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