EVs and PHEVs running on electricity have zero tailpipe emissions, but emissions may be produced by the source of electrical power, such as a power plant. Electricity generation is regional, so to get an accurate picture of the emissions created by an EV it is important to look at the sources used to create electricity in a particular area. If the electricity used to charge an all-electric vehicle comes from a nonpolluting, renewable source, such as wind or solar, driving the vehicle produces no emissions. Use this tool to learn more about the source of your state or region’s energy.
Wells-to-wheels emissions take into account the production and distribution of the fuel. It is a type of analysis that allows individuals to compare emissions over the entire life cycle of a vehicle —from the energy and materials used to power a vehicle, to the direct tailpipe emissions. This makes it more “apples-to-apples” when comparing to gas-powered rides. For example, although EVs produce no tailpipe emissions, the electricity used to power them does produce a certain amount of emissions, albeit notably less than a conventional car.
A wells-to-wheels analysis tracks emissions across two stages: well-to-pump and pump-to-wheels. The well-to-pump stage begins with the fuel feedstock recovery, followed by fuel production, and ends with the fuel available at the pump. The pump-to-wheels stage simply represents the vehicle’s operation.