Another organization has jumped into the fierce and sometimes confusing debate over the cleanliness of electric vehicles (EVs).
A new report from the research and publishing organization Climate Central finds that in most states, conventional gas-powered hybrid cars may still be cleaner than all-electric cars.
After analyzing up-to-date data on the electricity mix in every state, analysts at Climate Central tried to determine what type of vehicle offers drivers the least carbon-intensive option. Clearly, the cleaner the grid in each state, the more attractive all-electric vehicles become from an environmental perspective. The researchers also looked at the fossil fuel requirements of battery production and the carbon emissions associated with transporting and burning gasoline.
The results were very mixed for EVs.
"When all the carbon emissions associated with building and driving electric and high-mileage gasoline cars are included in the analysis, the all-electric advantage goes up in smoke. In the vast majority of states, the significant carbon debt associated with the production of electric car batteries outweighs recent reductions in carbon emissions from power generation and efficiency improvements of some electric vehicles," wrote the authors.
When factoring in manufacturing-related emissions for EVs along with gasoline production and consumption for conventional hybrids, the study found that gasoline-powered hybrid cars were actually cleaner than EVs in twenty-four states. Even when taking manufacturing emissions for EVs out of the equation, there were still eighteen states with dirty electricity portfolios that made conventional hybrid cars more attractive than plug-in hybrids or EVs.
There were only eleven states where EVs were more attractive than both conventional and plug-in hybrids.
So how does your state rank? The interactive map below shows which vehicles perform the best in each state. As the grid has gotten cleaner nationally over the last few years, the number of states where EVs outperform conventional gas-powered hybrids has doubled. However, as the map shows, the landscape is still highly variable.
Read the report and the methodology here.