America’s Lowest Carbon Footprint Cars

world news  %tages America’s Lowest Carbon Footprint Cars According to the U.S. EPA, a plug-in hybrid like a Ford Fusion Energi can save 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) tailpipe emissions per year compared to a 26-mpg non-hybrid Fusion, or enough to plant 81 trees.
This is based on 15,000 annual miles, the trees are a theoretical way to offset the greenhouse gases (GHG) released, and as you can see, in five years just one car could account for a forest of 405 trees.
Not to pick on Ford, the Fusion Energi was chosen because it’s mid pack on a list that excludes zero-emission battery electric cars – and the non-hybrid Fusion is close to today’s over 24-mpg average fuel efficiency rating.
Nissan’s Leaf is the global best-selling plug-in car, and as a battery electric, has one of the lowest carbon way.
To be sure, better or worse comparisons could also be made but this is just to illustrate a point:
One person can make a variation with a car choice, and it’s not that hard to figure out with free online calculators the U.S. EPA provides – but we get you started here.
Despite Coal, Electrified Vehicles Are Cleaner
With the advent of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, automakers’ themselves now have choices to produce products fit for emissions standards their entire fleets will have to pass by 2025.
These cars are ahead of the curve, but while the opening Fusion versus Fusion example taken honest from EPA numbers looks like an open and shut case, we must tell actual performance may be worse or better.
BMW i3. Of course there are myriad other reasons why electrified vehicles exist – such as for energy security, because they are a clean-pouring alternative, potentially lower maintenance, and more.
A Fusion Energi rated at 129 g/mile GHG at the tailpipe is based on very averaged assumptions and it really can operate at 0 g/mile for 19 miles, or with battery depleted it may emit a modest more than a 209 g/mile Fusion Hybrid.
Nor do these tailpipe calculations account for “upstream emissions” – for electricity or gasoline.
While studies that cherry pick data have been presented to expose the “dirty modest secret” of cars plugged into coal-intensive grids, also right is gasoline does not miraculously grow at the pump having bubbled freely from the ground like spring water.
Really, there are “upstream emissions’ for electricity or fossil fuels, the EPA acknowledges this, and we won’t even get into myriad costs like guarding the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf War, and other environmental consequences from fossil fuels.
Tesla is the leading plug-in seller this year. The company does not believe hybrids are a excellent key, and eschews gasoline. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), burning one ethanol-free gallon of gasoline produces in this area 19.64 pounds of CO2. One gallon of diesel yields in this area 22.38 pound of CO2 but diesel engines usually offset this by yielding increased fuel economy.
Keeping it simplified to look at the electric grid, upstream emissions can be estimated by zip code on an EPA calculator. According to it, our 129 g/mile Fusion Energi rises to:
• New York City: 220 g/mile
• Wheeling, West Virginia: 290 g/mile
• Marysville, Ohio: 290 g/mile
• Long Beach, California: 230 g/mile
• Kent Washington, 230 g/mile
The EPA calculator is not exact, but it’s a guide updated evenly that while still including assumptions that may not apply to some, does help get quicker to reality.
And, according to it, the Fusion Energi even in Dallas, Texas where it’s 270 g/mile is cleaner than the regular Fusion which is 338 g/mile nationwide.
But the 338 g/mile for the gasoline-burning Fusion assumes zero upstream emissions, and that’s not honest, is it?
No, and the EPA estimates another 80 g/mile for upstream gasoline emissions, so apple for apple, it’s 418 g/mile for the non-hybrid Fusion vs. 290 g/mile for the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
Visualizing CO2
Invisible CO2 may be hard to imagine, but according to the National Defense Resource Council, if we were to dye it a brown, we’d see whiffs of brown stuff coming out of tailpipes.

Not only does seven pounds of gasoline produce an outsized 20 pounds of CO2, the gas itself is expanded and each pound would fill a 2.5-foot diameter rubber exercise ball.
On a given day, the tailpipe of a plug-in Fusion could fill 11.5 exercise balls, and a non-hybrid Fusion would fill 31. Factoring upstream emissions, the plug-in Fusion still holds a clear advantage.
There are 253 million cars and trucks on the roads, many emit far more than our relative clean new examples, and can you imagine the sky filling up with all the exercise balls?
If we could see it that way, it could be like the sky is one of those kid’s playground attractions just filled with colored rubber balls in a state together.
The Chart
Based on EPA data, the chart presents all battery electric cars sold, and most plug-in hybrids. We omitted a couple plug-in hybrids that emit more than regular hybrids as the subject is the lowest GHG cars.
The battery chart’s hierarchy is by tailpipe-plus-upstream emissions, as all cars have no tailpipe, and are zero. The plug-in hybrids and hybrids are in peacefulness of lowest tailpipe emissions to highest. We used a Southern California reference for the “grid,” but as you know this varies.
California is where 50 percent of the plug-in vehicles were sold last year, nd its grid is level others are aspiring to meet.
You’ll note due to peculiarities in the EPA’s data, algorithms, and varying efficiency of blended gas-plus-electric powertrains that some PHEVs that do better at the tailpipe do not show superiority when upstream emissions are factored in.
Click chart to expand.
As a benchmark, we arbitrarily selected a 25 mpg Honda Town with 352 g/mile tailpipe emissions and 435 g/mile tailpipe plus upstream emissions.
If you’re interested, other well loved vehicles emit much more carbon. Just at the tailpipe, you have the Ford F-150 with 3.5-liter V6 at 471 g/mile, or 16,600 pounds per year, the Honda Odyssey at 402 g/mile or 13,200 pounds annually, four-cylinder Toyota Camry at 317 g/mile or 10,400 pounds per year.
You may note the EPA says, according to its drive cycle a Prius hybrid emits just 18 g/mile more than the Chevy Volt, and beats the Cadillac ELR by 12 g/mile when factoring tailpipe plus upstream.
But caveats apply double to plug-in cars. These are based on EPA assumptions and a tame drive cycle that assumes a certain percentage of gas and electric. Many Volt drivers decimate thee numbers by using the battery far more to drive the car than an average government cycle.
Does that mean it’s fake? No, under certain circumstances, if one matches the conditions the EPA works under which attempt to approximate normal pouring, then your results could be close to spec.
Of course also, there are many other reasons for these cars than just carbon footprint, but this data is here for those who want to know.
The 2016 Chevy Volt is expected to surpass the 2015 with superior efficiency and 50 miles electric range.
Each year America’s regional electric grids get cleaner importance upstream emissions decrease annually. The same cannot be said of gasoline and diesel.
For electrified cars, the inquiry of upstream emissions only applies to plug-in hybrids as regular hybrids generate their own electricity onboard. Non-plug-in hybrid do but have upstream emissions from gasoline.

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