All-electric vehicles don't emit while driving, but the electricity needed to charge EV batteries do come from power plants. Those power plants in many cases, burn some kind of fuel to produce electricity; however some renewable energy sources don't take advantage of finite fuels, and thus don't emit at all.

Vermont

Vermont

The Alternative Fuels Data Center has estimated the indirect annual carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions of a typical EV, using data for 2015.

As it turns out, the well-to-wheel emissions of all-electric vehicles are lower than gasoline vehicles on average in all states:

  • gasoline vehicle average: 11,435 pounds of CO2 equivalent
  • EV National Average: 4,815 pounds of CO2 equivalent
That said, there is still a huge disproportion of CO2 emission between the states, depending on renewable energy source usage. Vermont for example is almost emission free, while on the other hand coal powered West Virginia stands at 9,451 pounds of CO2 equivalent.

"EVs charging in Vermont are estimated to produce the fewest emissions – oil and gas make up only 1.2% of the electricity sources in the state while cleaner sources such as nuclear, hydro, biomass, wind, and solar make up the rest. West Virginia's electricity production is 95.7% from coal, making it the state with the most well-to-wheel CO2-equivalent emissions. The national average is 4,815 pounds of CO2-equivalent emissions for a typical EV per year as compared to the average gasoline-powered car which produces 11,435 pounds of CO2-equivalent emissions annually."

The most important thing is that the switch is on to plug-in vehicles, and at the same time, every year's electricity production becomes a little greener, so every EV sold will help the environment a little more every day.

Well-to-Wheel Emissions from a Typical EV by State, 2015

State Annual Emissions

per Vehicle

(Pounds of CO2 Equivalent)
Vermont <1
Washington 987
Idaho 1,179
Maine 1,559
Oregon 1,644
New Hampshire 1,886
South Dakota 1,941
New York 2,112
Connecticut 2,336
New Jersey 2,529
California 2,706
South Carolina 3,090
Massachusetts 3,803
Virginia 3,931
Illinois 4,003
Rhode Island 4,122
Mississippi 4,140
Alaska 4,182
Pennsylvania 4,278
Maryland 4,378
North Carolina 4,395
District of Columbia 4,540
Tennessee 4,563
Louisiana 4,588
Georgia 4,643
Nevada 4,689
Alabama 4,815
Florida 4,830
Arizona 4,845
Arkansas 5,059
Texas 5,086
Minnesota 5,142
Oklahoma 5,271
Iowa 5,440
Kansas 5,444
Michigan 5,520
Delaware 5,654
Montana 5,670
Nebraska 6,108
Wisconsin 6,443
Hawaii 6,696
Colorado 6,936
Ohio 6,958
New Mexico 7,446
North Dakota 7,470
Missouri 8,328
Utah 8,362
Indiana 8,682
Wyoming 8,823
Kentucky 8,965
West Virginia 9,451
EV National Average 4,815
For Comparison Purposes:
Gasoline Vehicle Average 11,435

source: energy.gov