When modern electric vehicles (EVs) first came out, some charged that the vehicles would pollute as much regular vehicles because they were charged by grid-power, which primarily came from coal. Now, Climate Central has issued new research showing that EVs in most states are now the US’s cleanest vehicles—even cleaner than hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
“In more and more of the country, new electric cars are becoming the greenest option on the market, even when you consider the source of the electricity they use," said Eric Larson, a climate scientist at Climate Central and the report author.
The new analysis found that in 37 states, an all-electric car driven 100,000 miles produces less emissions than the most fuel-efficient gas-powered hybrid car driven the same distance, Climate Central said. That’s up from 2013 when just there just 13 states where an EV was more climate friendly than a fully gas-powered car. Now there are only 13 states where a gas-powered car is the cleanest-driving choice for consumers for 100,000 miles of driving.
“The growing number of electric and plug-in hybrid cars, in addition to the decreasing amounts of coal-powered electricity generation in many states, means that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are the most climate-friendly cars available to most Americans,” Climate Central stated.
“Making a car choice that is climate-friendly means considering both what you drive and where you drive it. In all 50 states, there are low emission choices for consumers, but states with greener electrical grids will have electric car options that beat out the best gas-powered cars.”
The report explained that in those states that rely heavily on fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, using the electric grid to power an EV can actually produce more emissions than driving a gas-powered vehicle. But those states with more wind, solar, hydropower or nuclear provide those vehicles with a low-emissions power source.
More emissions go into manufacturing an EV and its batteries than a gasoline vehicle. As such the research also found that EVs driven 50,000 miles were still the cleanest cars in only 31 states as compared to 37 for driving over 100,000 miles. In those other states, Climate Central said that gas-powered hybrids are the best option in those other 19 states.
The organization also introduced a climate-friendly car guide showing its analysis on the cleanest 2017 model vehicles in all 50 states.Tweet