September 18th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
Electric cars are much, much greener than gas cars (“gasmobiles,” as I like to call them). Even in the state with the dirtiest electricity grid (Colorado), electric cars charging from the grid have a miles per gallon equivalency of 34. The average new gasoline-powered compact car has a fuel economy rating of 28 mpg. (In the cleanest state, New York, the mpg equivalency for a standard electric car is 112.)
However, even all of this is missing a few key points. One, a large percentage of electric car owners also have solar panels on their roofs. That makes for some super clean driving. Two, electric cars mostly charge at night, when there is often excess electricity generation occurring anyway, so they may be charging from the grid while not actually contributing any extra emissions. Three, electric cars get people thinking much more about their electricity usage, which gets many of them to install more efficient light bulbs and appliances as well as conserve electricity more. It’s apparently not that uncommon for an electric car owner to see their electricity bill drop after getting their electric car!
Anyhow, back to the news of the day. “Sixty percent of Americans now live in regions where electric vehicles (EVs) produce fewer heat-trapping global warming emissions per mile than the most efficient hybrids, according to an updated analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In 2012, that number was just 45 percent,” UCS reported on Tuesday, as National Drive Electric Week was getting rolling.
Much of this improvement has come from the grid getting greener and greener. A solar panel is installed in the US every couple of minutes. Wind turbines are also being installed at a good clip. Coal power plants are being retired, and no new ones have come online this year. The grid is getting greener, which means that driving on electricity from the grid is also getting greener.
Aside from the grid getting cleaner, electric cars have also improved. Chris DeMorro, on EV Obsession, writes: “Another key figure is battery efficiency, which has improved about 5%, using on average 0.325 kWh per mile, which is the equivalent to using a toaster oven for about 20 minutes. This has helped states like Texas and Florida, where EVs in both states emitted the same amount of emissions as a 48 MPG car, cross the threshold by a hair to 51 MPG.”
Image Credit: UCS
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