Are Electric Vehicles (EV) all that environmentally-friendly?

During a recent study conducted by The Union of Concerned Scientists, several results that may shock you were found. So here’s the hypothesis: Two Electric Cars of the same make and model (the Nissan Leaf was used for the experiments), travelling the same distance, should emit the same amount of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas). One car would travel in Denver, and the other in Los Angeles.  The UCS concluded that, because much of California’s higher usage of clean energy measures, the automobile would effectively have the carbon emissions of a car with equivalent gas mileage of approximately 79 MPG.  On the other hand, the same automobile travelling in Colorado, a state in which much of its energy is produced by coal, would have equivalent gas mileage of an automobile obtaining approximately 33 MPG.

The reason for these variations is due to the way by which energy is consumed and re-routed to the filling stations. As previously mentioned, California is a leader in using clean energy technologies such as Solar and Wind whereas Colorado uses coal as a significant source of energy. Let’s take an example: If California, a clean energy state, used wind power exclusively for the purpose of recharging EV’s, the emissions of that EV driving approximately 3,900 miles would be same as a car that gets 30 MPG.

So what does this mean? Well, if you are looking to purchase, or already using a car with low emissions, you don’t really have a choice as to how much the car actually emits.  But let your not hearts be troubled, there are now 35 states, along with the District of Columbia, implementing renewable electricity and energy standards… so one would have to conclude that the future of EVs looks bright, and much cleaner!

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