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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Sorry, Tesla owners, but your electric car isn’t as green as you think it is

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….Important factors in determining carbon emissions include the weight of the vehicle, driving habits, and the source of the electricity that charges your car. Likewise, it can be a much greener choice to keep the perfectly functional car you have, rather than go out and buy a new one.

“If you are a relatively low-mileage person, you should stick with your gas-powered car,” Mike Berners-Lee, a leading expert in measuring the amount of greenhouse gases released by the products we buy, told Salon. “When the time comes to buy a new car, you should buy a nice, small electric car, and you should still keep the mileage down. You should still try to find other forms of transport when you can, and you should share transportation as much as you can.

One of the reasons why buying a new car is a problem is the vehicle’s so-called embodied carbon, meaning all of the energy that was used to build the car from scratch — including the extraction and processing of raw materials, and shipping parts and vehicles across oceans in filthy bunker-fuel burning cargo ships. Every time you roll off the dealer’s lot in a new set of wheels — electrified or not — your personal carbon footprint grows immensely….

…However, Reichmuth is quick to point out that while an electric car is modestly more polluting to manufacture, it more than makes up for the difference over the life of the vehicle. A study Reichmuth co-authored and released in 2015 shows that by the time a mid-size electric car hits 135,000 miles, it will have produced half of the emissions of a comparable gasoline-powered sedan….

 

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