Electric Car Emissions Versus Gas Vehicles

electric vehicle carbon emissions

 I own an electric car and believe they are suitable for the environment. However, I wanted to know how much fewer emissions electric cars create than gas vehicles. Even though electric vehicles are supposed to be a cleaner mode of transportation, emissions are created through electricity generation. Electricity can be produced from coal, solar, or other sources.

Where your electricity is produced determines how much emissions are created. So I set out to answer how much fewer emissions an electric car makes versus a gas vehicle. 

Gas Car Average Emissions

First, I tackled how much emissions a typical gasoline vehicle produces. The Environmental Protection Agency has a paper on how much emissions are created by a gas car. If a person travels around 13,500 miles using a gasoline car, you make about five tons of carbon emissions per year. The more complicated part of the answer is to calculate how much emissions an electric vehicle creates.

Where Does Your Electricity come from?

A vast majority of people get their electricity from their local utility. Since most people’s electricity comes from their utility, we need to understand where your electricity comes from. Depending on which state you live in you, your power will come from one or more of the following sources:

  • Coal
  • Petroleum
  • Hyrdo
  • natural gas
  • nuclear
  • renewables

Your electricity will come from a combination of power sources to create your electricity. For example, If you live in Missouri, coal is a primary source of electricity. However, California’s electricity is primarily generated s from natural gas and renewables. As a result, you will see higher emissions per kilowatt in Missouri versus California. 

Electric Car Emissions

Once you know where your state’s electricity comes from, you need to consider the efficiency of an electric car. Assuming you travel 13,500 miles yearly, each electric vehicle will have many miles per kilowatt. How many kilowatts does a specific electric car model take to travel 13,500? Finding and calculating the emissions data is quite a chore. I spent about a week building a model in an excel spreadsheet to determine the emissions by electric cars by state.

Electric Car Versus Gas Emission Feature

After figuring out the electric car emissions versus gas vehicle answer, I believe showing how much carbon emission they take out of the air is powerful based on their location and the electric car they drive.

Based on your state, Electric Driver shows you how much of your electricity comes from hydro, renewables, nuclear, coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Electric cars, regardless of your state, create fewer emissions than using gas. 

If you want to learn more and find an electric vehicle that fits your lifestyle, please visit our Electric Driver website.

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