Conventional, Hybrid, Plug-in hybrid or Electric Vehicles? State-based Comparative Carbon and Energy Footprint Analysis in the United States

Electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are often considered as better options in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption compared to internal combustion vehicles. However, making any decision among these vehicle options is not a straightforward process due to temporal and spatial variations, such as the sources of the electricity used and regional driving patterns. In this study, the authors compared these vehicle options across 50 states, taking into account state-specific average and marginal electricity generation mixes, regional driving patterns, and vehicle and battery manufacturing impacts. Furthermore, a policy scenario proposing the widespread use of solar energy to charge EVs and PHEVs is evaluated. Based on the average electricity generation mix scenario, EVs are found to be least carbon-intensive vehicle option in 24 states, while HEVs are found to be the most energy-efficient option in 45 states. In the marginal electricity mix scenario, widespread adoption of EVs is found to be an unwise strategy given the existing and near-future marginal electricity generation mix. On the other hand, EVs can be superior to other alternatives in terms of energy-consumption, if the required energy to generate 1 kW h of electricity is below 1.25 kW h.


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  • Accession Number: 01561166
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2015 4:50PM