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.
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
"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