The Union of Concerned Scientists tracks greenhouse gas emissions associated with electric cars, based on how electricity is produced throughout the country and on the efficiency of the vehicles themselves. As electricity production has trended cleaner in recent years, electric vehicles are looking better than ever for the environment. An average electric car being charged and driven in Pennsylvania in 2009 would have “emitted” as much carbon dioxide as a gas-powered car getting 64 miles per gallon. By 2016, that figure had risen to 79 MPG. In New York State, where electricity generation is less dependent on coal, the comparable figure was 191 MPG.
You can use UCS’s online tool to determine the emissions equivalent for a specific EV model in a specific part of the country (by zip code).
Electric vehicles are significantly cheaper to operate and maintain than gas-powered cars, and purchase prices are falling as the market for e vehicles grows. In 2018, 80% of electric cars sold in the US had a base retail price under $50,000.
Photo by Robert Couse-Baker, Flickr Commons