How “Green” Are Electric Cars Really?

Electric Cars
When we think of electric cars, we immediately think that they are helping the environment. But how “green” are electric cars really?

Being green is being aware of your impact on the environment. Earth’s resources are being consumed at alarming rates and the pollution we leave behind is causing problems now and leading to even greater concerns about the sustainability of future living.

One of the most prominent ways we affect the environment is how we get from place to place. If you are thinking of getting or replacing a car, you are probably thinking about being environmentally responsible—being so makes sense because you’re not just helping the environment, you’re helping your wallet. The cars that are coming of the assembly lines today are greener than ever. Electric cars are some of the greenest cars available, but how green are they really?

Here’s a quick guide that lists how:


Fuel emissions—exhaust—is costly in more ways than one. Not only do gasoline engines add pollutants to the air, they have a significant carbon footprint. Some estimates suggest that each gallon of gas contributes nearly 25 pounds of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. You may ask, “How does a gallon of gas weighing in at around 8 pounds produce 25 pounds of carbon emissions?” About 20% of that comes from fuel production and delivery. Up to 30% of human-added climate change gases are produced by car and truck engines.

When you read those numbers, it quickly becomes obvious how green electric cars can be. Many electric cars have no gas engines. These cars produce 0% emissions.

“Filling up the tank”

Traditional gas engines need fuel, and electric cars are no different. They need to be recharged. You may ask, “But doesn’t recharging your car produce emissions and pollution?” The answer is yes, but consider this: even in areas where electricity production isn’t clean (such as from coal plants), charging an electric car is still significantly cleaner and costs much less than fueling up at the pump. Two of the most common concerns about electric cars are how far they can go on a charge and how long they take to recharge. Both of these numbers are improving every year. New charging stations are being introduced that can quick-charge your electric car’s battery in 30 minutes.

Fuel economy

Have you ever wondered what the effective fuel economy is for electric vehicles? You know they don’t cost anything at the pump, but they do use energy when they are recharged. Recent studies report the effective “miles per gallon” for most of the electric cars that are being produced today. This gives you an apples-to-apples method of comparison for knowing just how green these cars really are. The effective mpg for all-electric cars ranges from 54 for a high performance electric car to 121 mpg for the most economical model. Most cars on the list are at or above 100 mpg. By comparison, even the most efficient hybrids aren’t getting much above 50 mpg.

Electric emissions

Similar to the fuel economy comparisons above, studies report the effective assessment of greenhouse emissions that are created from charging electric cars. Unlike gas engines that produce emissions both when fuel is produced and when it is burned in the car’s engine, electric cars generate emissions when they are being charged. These emissions are created by the power plant that generates the electricity used to charge the car. Electric car emissions are accounted for in this report and are compared with the emissions that hybrid and traditional fuel engines generate. The cleanest electric car produces 100 g/mi when charged in the area with the cleanest power production in the United States. The least clean electric car in the dirtiest power area produces 440 g/mi. Compare this with the average gas car in America, which produces 500 g/mi.


Whether you live in the U.S. and want to have the most interesting car in the neighborhood, or you are on the other side of the world and you’re just researching the best options for fuel efficient cars and car batteries in Perth, Australia, an electric car may just be the answer for you.

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