Why we should care about the carbon-dioxide emissions of the electric car world
There are a lot of electric cars, but not a lot about the emissions of them.
The only major electric car that makes an appearance in the United States is the Tesla Model S, which comes with a $35,000 carbon-fueled battery that can be charged using electricity from the grid, or by running an internal generator.
But electric cars are not the only vehicles to use carbon-based fuels.
The energy-intensive process of extracting and processing carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is another way in which humans are responsible for damaging the environment.
And a recent study published in Nature Geoscience suggests that a growing number of countries are using carbon-intensive technologies, like coal and oil, to fuel their electric vehicles.
As a result, the environment could become more vulnerable to future climate change.
The study is by David P. Johnson, a senior research fellow at the American Geophysical Union, and colleagues from several universities, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Their findings suggest that we are moving towards a more environmentally friendly future for the planet, because carbon emissions are largely controlled by electricity.
“It’s a really good signal that we’ve got to move away from fossil-fuel powered cars,” says Johnson.
“There are lots of alternatives.”
The report’s authors examined data from the World Energy Council’s carbon emissions index, which measures the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced in a given year.
Carbon dioxide emissions have been steadily increasing since the mid-2000s.
That trend is expected to continue, but it will likely take longer, the authors say.
Their analysis focused on electric vehicles, which accounted for about half of total carbon emissions.
They compared the emissions in 2020 with emissions in 2050.
Electric vehicles produced about half as much carbon dioxide in 2020 as they did in 2050, while gasoline-powered vehicles were responsible for only about half the emissions.
But in 2020, the emissions from electric vehicles were almost three times the emissions they were in 2050; in 2050 they were about four times the total emissions.
And the gap was even wider: In 2020, electric vehicles emitted about 5 percent more CO2 than the other vehicles combined.
In 2050, they emitted 2.5 percent more than the cars combined.
Johnson’s team analyzed data from over 40 countries, from the United Kingdom to China.
The researchers also used data from a United Nations Environment Program database.
They found that the average number of electric vehicles on the road in 2020 was about 8,000; in 2040, that number was nearly 14 million.
The United States was the biggest consumer of electric car electricity.
According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2020 the United State exported 1.8 billion electric cars; in 2030, it exported 2.2 billion.
In 2030, about half a million of these vehicles were sold in the U.S. There are several reasons why electric vehicles have grown in popularity, Johnson says.
For one, electric cars have the lowest emissions of any type of vehicle.
In fact, electric car drivers are among the most polluting in the country, with more than one in five emissions in the atmosphere coming from driving an electric vehicle.
By contrast, gasoline-fuel-powered cars make up roughly 60 percent of all vehicle emissions.
The other reason for electric cars to be popular is because they have an efficient gasoline engine.
The new report found that electric cars were slightly more efficient than gasoline-driven cars in terms of the amount they produced of CO2 per mile driven.
The authors attribute this to the lower-volume, shorter-travel electric motors, which use fewer horsepower to propel the vehicle.
They also point to the fact that electric vehicles are relatively easy to maintain.
They use fewer maintenance facilities and maintenance costs than gas-powered vehicle models.
“We believe that EVs are a very important part of the energy transition in the coming years,” Johnson says, “and this report is a very good indicator of how important EVs are going to be in that transition.”
The authors note that the report also found that more than half of the carbon emissions in 2030 came from electric vehicle use.
But this figure only includes emissions from the battery.
The electric car market has grown considerably over the past few years, Johnson notes.
The average number new electric vehicles sold in 2020 and 2030 was about 9,000 and 3,600 respectively.
By 2020, that figure was about 11,000, while by 2030 it was about 22,000.
This increase in electric vehicle sales also suggests that EVs could become the fastest-growing form of energy in the future, the researchers say.
They note that electric vehicle manufacturers are looking for ways to use technology to reduce the amount CO2 they produce.
Johnson says that in the meantime, the government should be investing in cleaner energy technologies.
“Electric vehicles have a long way to go,” he says.
“I don’t think it’s too late to take steps to reduce CO2 emissions.”