E.V.s Start With a Bigger Carbon Footprint. But That Doesn’t Last. – The New York Times

“. . . . To determine the environmental costs of the trade-off, trade organizations and universities have conducted life cycle analyses, or L.C.A.s: comparisons between the amount of greenhouse gases created from the production, use and disposal of a B.E.V. and the gases from a gasoline-powered vehicle of a similar size.

The good news: Studies have found that, though it’s true that the production of a B.E.V. causes more pollution than a gasoline-powered counterpart, this greenhouse-gas emission difference is erased as the vehicle is driven.

And erasing the difference does not appear to take very long. In a study conducted by the University of Michigan (with a grant from the Ford Motor Company), the pollution equation evens out between 1.4 to 1.5 years for sedans, 1.6 to 1.9 years for S.U.V.s and about 1.6 years for pickup trucks, based on the average number of vehicle miles traveled in the United States.

The study found that, on average, emissions from B.E.V. sedans were 35 percent of the emissions from an internal-combustion sedan. Electric S.U.V.s produced 37 percent of the emissions of a gasoline-powered counterpart, and a B.E.V. pickup created 34 percent of the emissions of an internal combustion model. (Because gasoline-powered pickups consume more fuel than smaller vehicles, switching to a battery electric pickup results in a greater reduction in emissions.)

These results vary, based on how much greenhouse gas is created through the production of the electricity needed to charge a battery. The greater the use of renewable sources — such as wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower — the greater the reduction in emissions.”

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