The link is a fair analysis of the overall lifecycle carbon output of an EV versus a gas-powered car: How Many Miles Before An Electric Car Is Greener Than A Gas Car

Bottom line: At 200,000 total vehicle miles, an EV will have produced -28% less CO2 than a similar gas car.

  • Were you expecting more or less than that?
  • Is that figure a surprise?

I am not replacing my 42 mpg 2015 Honda Fit. It’s got a lot of miles left in it, and if properly maintained, its lifecycle CO2 output is similar to an EV – when overall product life cycle is considered.

Back in the late 1970s, I read a book titled “Eating Oil”. That book pointed out back in the late 1970s, that the bulk of energy used by a typical car was used during its manufacture, and the energy (oil) used during its operational life was less. Mining, making, and forming steel are very energy intensive.

Obviously, many things have changed since then but last I looked it was common for significant parts of a vehicle’s lifetime energy use to have occurred during manufacturing.


I suspect most are surprised to find their expensive EV does not reduce their carbon emissions by very much, and then, only after they’ve had it for many years.

Note – all these calculations “depend” on many things. My house is solar powered with sufficient excess generation to recharge an EV. Otherwise, we would be consuming a grid power mix that includes hydro and coal plant generation. This also depends on the type of cars that are compared. Thus, the -28% is true for one scenario but not necessarily true for other scenarios.

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Coldstreams Skeptic