If electricity is made from fossil fuels, then why are hybrid cars good for the environment?

Problem with fossil-fueled cars? They get their power from burning stuff and most of the energy they produce is lost as heat. The efficiency of gasoline engines is just too low.

The Prius is a super-efficient hybrid that gets 52 mpg. The same amount of energy can take a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 142 miles. [1]

The Prius can be 100% powered by gasoline while an EV’s electricity in the US is only 60% dependent on fossil fuels. Add to that the electric power plants are more efficient than gasoline engines. Add to that the US’s main fossil fuel for electric power is natural gasoline, which emits less pollution (including carbon emissions) than gasoline engines.


Scientific American published this 2016 article:

As it stands now, the Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle (which burns gasoline when the batteries are not in use) and the all-electric Nissan Leaf emit roughly the same amount of greenhouse gases: 200 grams per mile according to the U.S. Department of Energy data.

Look at today. [3] Today, people are buying Tesla Model 3’s. The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which has a larger battery than the Leaf, uses 24 kWh for 100 miles. This is only 80% of what it costs. In 2016, 30% of the US’s power generation was done by coal. However, that number dropped to 19.3% in 2020. Renewables now account for 19.8% of all electricity. Keep in mind, however, that most gasoline-powered cars in the US do not have Priuses.

This update shows that the EVs you buy today get greener every year, but the Prius will remain the same as it was made.



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