Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Why switching to an EV is good for the climate » Yale Climate Connections

A vehicle’s impact on the climate begins even before it’s on the road.

Kelly: “Whether we’re talking about an electric vehicle or a conventional vehicle, you have to build the vehicle.”

Jarod Kelly of Argonne National Laboratory studies the climate-warming emissions created over a vehicle’s entire lifetime.

He says manufacturing an EV typically produces a little more carbon pollution than manufacturing a gas-powered vehicle because of the energy needed to make EV batteries.

But his research shows that switching to an EV is still better for the climate.

On average, driving an EV creates so much less carbon pollution than a comparable gas-powered car that within 20,000 miles, it will have more than offset the extra carbon pollution created when it was built.

Kelly: “Usually by the second year of typical operation … you’d definitely be in the point of benefit.”

The exact break-even point depends on the vehicle model and where you drive.

You’ll reach that break-even point faster in places where the electric grid uses more clean energy.

But even in areas where a lot of electricity comes from coal, EVs still generate less carbon pollution over their lifetime than gas-powered cars.

So although it takes a little more energy to make EVs, they’re still better for the climate.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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