New Study Proves EVs Already More Sustainable

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by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

For years there’s been a false narrative perpetuated by special interest groups that electric vehicles actually produce more greenhouse gases than the average internal combustion vehicle. However, a new study shows that this is not true — over the entirety of its life cycle, an EV will release fewer greenhouse gases than a gas-powered car, even if plugged into a grid that’s not producing its electricity from clean sources. 

Why his Matters: While the actual manufacturing process of building EVs produces more emissions than a standard combustion engine, enhanced battery recycling could eventually close that gap.

As it stands, the U.S. transportation industry is responsible for 28 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, the largest of any sector, thus it’s crucial that we make the switch to EVs as quickly as possible.

 California and the European Union already have plans to phase out internal combustion engines by 2035 but other states must follow suit. Now, the forces trying to slow the transition to a green economy have one less false talking point at their disposal.

The Case for Electric Vehicles:

Those opposed to the widespread use of EVs suggest that the vehicles are only as green as our sources of electricity — and electricity generation still relies chiefly on burning fossil fuels. But this study, produced by the nonprofit research group, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), suggests that this argument doesn’t hold true. 

  • As Business Insider explained, during its lifetime, an EV in the US releases about 60% to 68% fewer carbon emissions than a traditional vehicle. Even in China and India — countries that rely heavily on coal-power — electric cars produce between 37% to 45% and 19% to 34% fewer greenhouse gases, respectively.

In any case, Georg Bieker, a researcher at the ICCT, told The Verge: “Combustion engine vehicles of any kind are not able to deliver the greenhouse gas reductions we need to live with climate change. That’s a global finding, therefore we need globally to phase out combustion engine cars.”

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