Electric Vehicles

Buy an Electric Car, If You Can.

Seriously. Electric Vehicles (EV) are way better than their Gasoline Vehicle (GV) peers. While most of us could intuitively guess that an EV is better for the environment — we wanted to explain why and clear up any confusion. In fact, we looked into the manufacturing costs, a ten year time span, and the death of the vehicle.

Manufacturing

Electric Vehicles are more costly to the environment, but only during this stage. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the larger and longer-range EVs may emit up to 68% more in greenhouse gases. This sounds like a lot and it is, but the vehicle more than makes up for it when a consumer drives off the lot.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “EVs are powered by electricity, which is generally a cleaner energy source than gasoline. Battery electric cars make up for their higher manufacturing emissions within eighteen months of driving — shorter range models can offset the extra emissions within 6 months — and continue to outperform gasoline cars until the end of their lives.”

EVs charging in Vermont are estimated to produce the fewest emissions – oil and gas make up only 1.2% of the electricity sources in the state while cleaner sources such as nuclear, hydro, biomass, wind, and solar make up the rest.

Vehicles Technologies Office of the Department of Energy

Daily Life

In 2016, the Department of Energy published research on the typical “well-to-wheel” emissions of an EV. For those who have not heard the term before, well-to-wheel emissions are the upstream carbon emission costs to produce electricity that is compatible with powering EVs.

Further, energy sources like nuclear, hydro, biomass, wind or solar, generally, tend to also emit less air pollution compared to oil or gas. In nearly every scenario, the environmentally conscious consumer is helping both the environment and their wallets.

In the United States, the Federal government subsidizes the purchase by giving $2,500 to $7,500 in tax credits when a consumer buys an EV. This is supposed to stop once every car manufacturer has sold 200,000 units of ‘qualified EVs’, but this has not happened yet. For example, in Washington D.C., a Nissan Leaf consumer would be given a $5,000 tax credit on the sale of the vehicle.

Environmentally, the greenhouse gas emissions vary depending on how each state decides to produce electricity. In a state like Vermont, the “Annual Emissions per Vehicle (Pounds of CO2 Equivalent)” for using an EV was less than 1 pound. However, Vermont is an anomaly and the EV National Average is way higher.

Assuming a 10 year useful life, an average conventional car will spew out 66,000 pounds more carbon pollution than an average electric vehicle. That’s 33 tons, folks. 

Steve Hanley at Clean Technica, February 2018

The EV National Average of Emissions per Vehicle is 4,815 pounds of Carbon Dioxide — more than half of a gasoline vehicle (11,435 pounds). Even if we consider a state like West Virginia which relies heavily on coal for it’s electricity production — (95.7% of the production comes from coal) — the annual cost is 9,451 versus 11,435 pounds. Although the data is not available, it would be interesting to see if those who buy electric cars tend to be more eco-conscientous consumers and live in states more like Vermont than West Virginia.

After the Life Cycle Ends

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, disposing either type of car emits less than 1 ton of greenhouse gases. However, batteries of electric cars can be recycled or reused whereas a fuel-injected engine cannot in the same capacity.

Buy an electric car and look into tax credits!