Electric Cars and Climate Change

Climate change is the change in global climate patterns due to an increase in fossil fuels. A solution to mitigate these emissions released by fossil fuels is converting automobiles to use only electric energy. However, the electricity used by electric vehicles also generates harmful emissions due to power plants that use fossil fuels to generate electricity. Despite these pollutants emitted into the atmosphere to produce electricity, electric vehicles still seem to be a viable solution to reduce harmful emissions produced by gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Electric Vehicles Charging at a Charging Station in
Hennepin County, Minn

Considering average emissions nationwide, vehicles running on gasoline produce 381 grams of CO2e (CO2 equivalent) per mile. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles produce 196 grams of CO2e per mile, approximately 50% less than that of a gasoline vehicles, which includes the fossil fuels required to produce the electricity to power these hybrids. Solely electric vehicles produce only 129 grams of CO2e per mile, which is only 34% that of gasoline vehicles. Of course, battery waste is still an issue, and companies like Nissan are finding solutions to recycle old electric vehicle batteries, such as using them to power street lights after use in an electric vehicle. Once these issues are solved and the world’s power grid continues to become cleaner, more electric vehicles will replace standard gasoline and diesel vehicles, reducing the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and hopefully reducing the issues experienced by man made climate change.


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