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State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States

Electric cars produce lower global warming emissions and cost significantly less to fuel than the average compact gasoline-powered vehicle.

DOWNLOAD: State of Charge–Executive Summary | State of Charge–Full Report | State of Charge–Technical Appendix
Electric Vehicles and Global Warming Emissions
Electric vehicles (EVs) burn no gasoline and have no tailpipe emissions, but producing the electricity used to charge them does generate global warming emissions. The amount of these emissions, however, varies significantly based on the mix of energy sources used to power a region’s electricity grid.

For example, coal-fired power plants produce nearly twice the global warming emissions of natural gas-fired power plants, while renewable sources like wind and solar power produce virtually no emissions at all.

The UCS report, State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States, compares the global warming emissions from EVs with those from gasoline-powered vehicles and finds that:

Nationwide, EVs charged from the electricity grid produce lower global warming emissions than the average compact gasoline-powered vehicle (with a fuel economy of 27 miles per gallon)—even when the electricity is produced primarily from coal in regions with the “dirtiest” electricity grids.
In regions with the “cleanest” electricity grids, EVs produce lower global warming emissions than even the most fuel-efficient hybrids.
EVs charged entirely from renewable sources like wind and solar power produce virtually no global warming emissions.
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