Electric Cars May Release More Emissions Than Gas-Powered Vehicles

A 2022 study from Emission Analytics suggesting that electric vehicles (EVs) produce more emissions has reappeared following the push to reduce gas-powered cars.

Emission Analytics found that tire wear creates the most pollution, suggesting that the heavier the vehicle, the greater the emission content.

The study found that tire wear emissions are 1,850 times greater than tailpipe emissions and increase if the driver accelerates or brakes aggressively.

“The excess emissions under aggressive driving should alert us to a risk with BEVs: greater vehicle mass and torque delivered can lead to rapidly increasing tire particulate emissions,” Emissions Analytics wrote. “Half a tonne of battery weight can result in tire emissions that are almost 400 more times greater than real-world tailpipe emissions, everything else being equal.”

Similarly, a 2023 study from the Manhattan Institute doubts if EVs are noticeably reducing carbon emissions.

“Imagining a hypothetical all-EV world requires acknowledging the unavoidable fact of a rats’ nest of assumptions, guesses, and ambiguities regarding emissions,” wrote Mark Mills, a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute.

“Much of the necessary data may never be collectible in any normal regulatory fashion, given the technical uncertainties and the variety and opacity of geographic factors, as well as the proprietary nature of many of the processes,” he noted.

Although EVs do not put out carbon emissions while in use, “emissions occur elsewhere—before the first mile is ever driven and when the vehicle is parked to refuel,” Mills explained.