Life Cycle Carbon Emissions Of Electric vs. Combustion Vehicles

The Fuels Institute has recently completed an analysis of the life cycle carbon emissions for electric and combustion vehicles.

The “Life Cycle Analysis Comparison – Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles,” report, due to be released in January 2022, looks at the carbon emissions from each phase in the life cycle of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) to help identify opportunities to effectively reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

The report looks at emissions at each stage of a vehicle’s life cycle allowing a critical look at the carbon intense phases in a vehicle’s life and focuses on mitigating carbon emissions at these phases to improve the emissions profile of the entire transportation sector.

The report also analyzes the carbon emissions associated with material sourcing, manufacturing, well to tank (that includes electricity generation and petroleum refining and distribution), and vehicle operation (transporting passengers) and concludes that there are opportunities to reduce carbon emissions for all three vehicle types at various stages in their life cycle.

Another concept that comes out of this analysis is the importance of reducing the carbon intensity of the liquid fuels that power combustion engines.

Even under extremely aggressive BEV sales projections, it will be decades before BEVs replace all ICEV sales, so it is important to look at all vehicle types to achieve carbon emission reductions.

Overall, the report indicates that BEVs make a lot of sense in low carbon grid scenarios (electricity generated by high percentage of renewables), but a combination of ICEV and HEV with lower carbon intense fuel options might make more sense in other markets.

A copy of the report will be available for download from the Fuels Institute website once the report is available.

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