Posted by bessie on Tuesday, August 25, 2009.

Think the Volt is greener than the Prius? Think again.

GM recently announced fuel economy figures for the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt: a whopping 230 miles per gallon! Using the same EPA standards, a rival automaker, Nissan, reported that their all-electric Leaf would get 367 mpg.

Mind-blowing numbers, right? You would think the Volt or the Leaf will blow the 50 mpg Prius off the road. Not true in half of the country. The long and short of it is driving 100 miles in a Prius emits 40 lbs of CO2e across all states whereas driving 100 miles in a Volt in Kansas emits 53 lbs, in California 19 lbs, and in Massachusetts 25 lbs. When electricity comes from burning coal, the Prius is hands-down greener than charging your Volt from the garage outlet.


While we applaud products that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it’s time to put the greenwashing brakes on the spin that electric cars are the environmentally friendliest throughout the land. Just because you can’t see the fossil fuels being burned to make electricity doesn’t mean they’re not being burned when you’re on a dirty grid. Let’s put the pedal to the metal on a new renewable energy infrastructure. Then plug-in hybrids and electric cars will be greener than ever.

-Rich + Ian

For this comparison we used:

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