Study Finds That Electrics and Hybrids Have a Higher CO2 Footprint In Production Than Do Gas Cars

Carbon Footprint

In brief: A new study from Ricardo and the UK's Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership concludes that hybrids and electrics have a higher carbon footprint than do conventional vehicles - at least in production.

The word

The new study from Ricardo concludes that while the carbon footprint of hybrids and electrics is higher in production, it is lower overall when you account for the life of the vehicle. The report was released on June 9 at the LowCVP Annual Conference 2011.

The study's focus was on the lifecycle of vehicles in regards to their carbon footprints. It found that many of the CO2 savings that low-carbon vehicles like EVs have are lost in the manufacturing and disposal cycles.

The study averaged the emissions of several types of vehicle over their lifetimes. The following summarizes findings:

Vehicle Whole Life Carbon Emissions Analysis
from Ricardo / LowCVP 2011
Vehicle Type Est. Lifecycle Emissions (CO2e tonnes) Proportion of emissions in production Est. emissions in production (CO2e tonnes)
Standard gasoline 24 23% 5.6
Hybrid 21 31% 6.5
Plug-in Hybrid 19 35% 6.7
Battery EV 19 46% 8.8

The estimates assume that current decarbonization efforts for electrical production for plug-ins has not changed.

And so ...

An interesting study with some interesting conclusions for those who include CO2 in their climate analysis.

Photo credits: Stock

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