In Washington state, the best all-electric cars cause so little carbon pollution that it’s like getting 383 miles per gallon of fossil fuel, even if you take into account the energy it took to make the battery.
This is because three-fourths of the state’s electric supply is generated by river dams.
But in many other states, a gasoline-only car that gets 34 to 37 mpg would be cleaner than an all-electric car, because the power supply comes mainly from burning coal.
This is according to a report released Thursday by Princeton, N.J.-based Climate Central, a nonprofit group focused on climate change.
The researchers addressed two common questions about electric cars: First, would the environmental damage of generating the electricity make a plug-in car dirtier than a car that uses gasoline? And second, would the carbon emitted in making the battery cancel the carbon savings from driving a plug-in car?