Report: EVs beat gas cars on climate emissions — in the long run

By Mike Lee | 03/12/2024 06:48 AM EDT

But new research says building electric vehicles leaves a bigger carbon footprint than making gas-powered cars.

Drivers cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

Drivers navigate traffic and the weather while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on March 1. Jeff Chiu/AP

The production of battery-powered vehicles creates more carbon dioxide than making those that run on gasoline, a new report says. But EVs overcome the emissions difference relatively quickly.

An average EV produced in the U.S. in 2023 will close the gap in about 2.2 years or 25,000 miles, according to analysis released Monday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

After that, electric vehicles emit significantly less CO2 than internal combustion vehicles, particularly when considering how long a typical car stays in service. And the advantage likely will increase as electric generation becomes cleaner, the paper said.


“Just like any car, you have to remember they’re going to be on the road about 10 years,” said Corey Cantor, a senior associate at BNEF who helped write the study.