Emissions: Internal Combustion vs. Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD
Latest update: December 16, 2020.
To help mitigate global warming, citizens should consider an electric vehicle the next time they purchase a car. I wrote this program to help drivers determine the life cycle greenhouse gases that their current gasoline car emits, and then compare the results with those for a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD electric vehicle, using the EPA’s most recent data (see the footnotes below for links to the sources).
Click on the of your utility region in this map:
You have selected:
Enter the miles driven
Enter the MPG
of your gas car:
(Your Car’s MPG)
(Tesla Model 3)
Manufacturing: + Upstream: + Tailpipe:
Total GHG: U.S. Average Fuel Cost:
Math doesn’t lie. As you can see, the old, worn-out “long tailpipe” argument against electric vehicles amounts to little more than petrolganda. Even in the dirtiest utility region (HIOA), a gasoline vehicle would have to average at least 46 MPG to produce fewer greenhouse gases than a Model 3. And nationwide, the gas car would have to average at least 78 MPG to beat it, yet the current national average is only 25.1 MPG. Moreover, as utilities continue to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, electric vehicles will only get cleaner. In fact, many owners are already going the extra mile (pun!) by charging their electric vehicles with solar panels. Don’t drink the pe'trolls’ Fossil Fool-Aid!
I will update this page as new data become available, so check back again in the future.
For those interested, here are the sources for the data used:
- The above map identifies the 26 utility regions designated by the EPA in this country.
- Emissions for the Model 3 according to utility region are reported via the EPA’s Beyond Tailpipe Emissions web page. Enter your zip code in the box and then click the button to “See your results.”
- As for your current car, the EPA Assumptions are that “on average, 8,887 grams of CO2 are emitted from burning one gallon of gasoline” and that “tailpipe CO2 emissions are multiplied by a national average factor of 1.25 to account for emissions associated with gasoline production” upstream (drilling, extracting, refining, transporting, pumping).
- To convert results in grams to pounds, divide by 453.59237.
- The emissions from manufacturing are calculated using these assumptions:
- A cradle-to-grave analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that manufacturing an average passenger vehicle emits 7 tons (14,000 lbs.) of greenhouse gases, and that building the large battery for Tesla Model 3 increases those emissions by 68% to 11.76 tons (23,520 lbs.).
- The study also estimates that the lifespan of such a vehicle would be 179,000 miles. If we spread the corresponding manufacturing emissions across that lifespan, the amounts per mile would be:
- gasoline vehicle - 0.0782 lbs. per mile
- Model 3 Long Range - 0.1314 lbs. per mile
- Put another way: compared to a gasoline car with an average MPG nationwide, after driving 15,000 initial miles, a Model 3 Long Range will have already saved the additional 9,520 lbs. of greenhouse gases emitted from building its battery.
- Here are the current average gasoline prices.
- Here are the current average electricity prices.