Emissions from EVs Depends on the Source of Your Electricity

Before I bought my first electric vehicle in 2012, I told myself, “I don’t want to switch from burning gas to burning coal,” since coal at the time was the biggest portion of my electric utility’s fuel mix. I went ahead and bought my 2012 Chevy Volt, because I installed enough solar panels on my home to get all my electricity from the sun. Since then, I have bought three Teslas and sold one (my RWD 2014 Model S to friends in Arizona).

Then I learned why EVs have lower emissions than gas-powered cars, even if the fossil fuels represent 100% of the utility’s fuel mix. The reasoning is reflected in this graphic from http://www.FuelEconomy.gov:

The gist of the graphic is that only 16 to 25% of the energy in gasoline goes to propelling the vehicle. The rest is basically waste energy, 68% to 72% of it engine losses such as heat. By contrast, roughly 90% of the energy in electricity goes to move an EV.

That differential in fuel efficiency is at the heart of why EVs are more climate- and pollution-friendly than gas-powered vehicles can ever be.

Author: Golden Real Estate, Inc.

Golden Real Estate is a prominent member of the Denver/Jefferson County real estate scene. Based in Golden, we service both Denver and Jeffco, representing both buyers and sellers. We're well known for Broker Jim Smith's weekly "Real Estate Today" column published in the Denver and Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section each Thursday. The column also appears in several weekly newspapers and is archived at www.JimSmithColumns.com. We have nine agents, all of whom are Realtors and EcoBrokers. Our office is Net Zero Energy since December 2017, and several of us drive electrics cars. Known for our sustainable practices, we accept polystyrene (aka "Styrofoam") for recycling, keeping 200 cubic yards per year out of area landfills.

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