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Turns Out EVs Are Definitely Greener Than Most Gas Cars, Even in Kansas

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I am excited today, because thanks to the Union of Concerned Scientists, I can finally bring some knowledge to one of the enduring questions of electric vehicles: given that many states still use coal and natural gas to generate electricity, just how “green” can an electric vehicle be?

Well, it turns out, that depends on where you are.

The following is a map from the UCS, and what it is telling you is, if you were driving an electric car in the US, what the equivalent mpg rating of a gasoline car would be to put out the same amount of emissions.

electric car wells to wheels emission equivalencies in mpg sep 2015 union of concerned scientists

So, put more simply, if I were to drive a Chevy Bolt around where I live (Ohio), then I would be responsible for the same amount of emissions as someone driving around in a car that gets 44 mpg combined. Honestly, that’s not bad. That’s solidly in the serious-inline-hybrid range, and just barely above what the Volt makes when its gas engine kicks on. If I were to drive that car, in, say, upstate New York, there isn’t a gas-powered car that could match my low emissions.

Chevrolet Bolt Korea

Look upon me and tremble

Of course, that’s on average in each region—your local power station could exclusively burn oil-soaked shredded tires for power, for all I know—but the averages are helpful, given the general mix of the power grid.

In addition, this map suggests what critics have doubted for a long time: right now, across the US, electric cars are cleaner than the vast majority of cars. If you’re in Kansas, then I guess efficiency is pretty comparable to an efficient normal car, so if you care about the environment, pick up the Cruze diesel, or something.

Or, wherever you are, put solar panels on your roof—then your emissions are just down to those emitted to make the car.

News Source: Green Car Reports