Conventional gas-powered hybrid vehicles are still better for the climate than all-electric cars in most U.S. states, in part because these states still rely heavily on fossil fuels to produce electricity, according to a new report.

In 39 states, high-efficiency hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, produce fewer carbon emissions during their lifecycle than the least-polluting electric cars, an analysis by Climate Central found. Although an increased reliance on cleaner energy sources in some parts of the country doubled the number of states (32) where driving electric cars would be more environmentally friendly, that advantage disappeared when analysts also considered the high emissions associated with building the batteries and other components for the EVs.

In 11 states, the best all-electric cars are better for the environment than gas-powered hybrids, even when manufacturing is taken into account. In 26 states, plug-in hybrid cars are the most climate-friendly vehicles, the analysis found.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.


About Author

Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

1 Comment

  1. If you are only going to look at CO2, it makes for interesting reading. What about the trillions of dollars we spent and hundreds of thousands of lives lost securing our oil supplies from the middle east? Not to mention the fact our military is the biggest user of oil in the world. Switching to a local energy source like natural gas or coal via the grid has got to be the best answer.

    Where we are getting it all wrong is the nature of our EVs. We need to commit as a nation and put power at the streets so that cars can run off it and reduce battery size. Batteries are the weak link in EVs and even hybrids to a degree. Millions of little poser plants all burning petroleum products just sounds insane.