Making a car choice that is climate friendly means considering both what you drive and where you drive it.
Typical cars have tailpipe emissions that are created when gasoline is burned to run the engine. But just because electric cars don’t run on gasoline doesn’t mean they are emissions free. To truly consider the climate impact of an electric car you need to think about where your electricity is coming from. When you charge your car, the electricity may be generated at a coal-fired power plant, at a hydroelectric dam, or someplace else.
In states where electricity generation relies heavily on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, powering electric cars can be more emissions intensive than conventional gas-powered cars. In those places, the most fuel-efficient, gas-powered cars are the most climate-friendly choice. On the other hand, states with large proportions of hydropower, nuclear, and renewables provide a low-emissions power grid for electric cars.
In all 50 states, there are low-emissions choices for consumers, but states with greener grids will have electric car options that beat out the best gas-powered cars.
Explore our Climate-Friendly Car Guide to see which cars are the best choices where you live.