Plan Curtail can help drivers make well-informed choices when choosing low-emission vehicles. Cars generate close to a third of the CO2 in the U.S., about 4.5 metric tons per car per year. The population of cars in the world is increasing rapidly, making it ever more difficult to counter climate change. Worldwide 88 million cars were produced in 2014, bringing the total number of cars in the world to over one billion. Car companies and government agencies have made choosing a low-emissions vehicle more difficult by misrepresenting the actual fuel economy (MPG) and associated CO2 emissions of electric cars. Familiar plug-in models, such as the Volt and Leaf, are claimed to achieve 98 to 114 MPG equivalent.
The reports in this section cover the history of plug-in cars, both battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (sometimes called a pluggable hybrid) electric vehicles (PHEV). They also include yearly sales updates of plug-ins and hybrids from 2011 through 2015.
These reports show that when the CO2 generated by a power plant is included, a typical electric car averages 40-50 MPG equivalent and generates 7-12% more emissions than a Prius. The Department of Energy says that hybrid cars generate 0.51 lbs. of CO2 per mile while BEV’s generate 0.54 lbs. of CO2 per mile and PHEV’s generate 0.61 lbs. of CO2 per mile.
When choosing either a new or used car, understanding the true CO2 emissions of plug-in cars can lead to the best low-emission selection for reducing car impact on the climate. Even better, share a ride, bike, and walk.