How do you calculate carbon footprint? First you need to know how many gallons of gasoline or diesel you put into your car or truck. Next, take that number and multiply
by 20. The answer is close to the pounds of carbon your vehicle is putting into the air.
If you drive an electric car or vehicle, you are putting zero pounds of carbon into the air while you are driving it. Your EV may be putting some carbon into the air though while you are charging it. To figure this out, you need to look at where the electricity is coming from. Not all power is generated from clean sources. However, since gasoline powered cars waste 2/3 of their energy as heat and electric cars are 3 times more efficient at using their energy, you are sill ahead with an EV.
To calculate carbon footprint for your total household, including gasoline powered cars, there is a great calculator here. To see the numbers, read on.
If the animation above is not clear, head back a few pages to Humans Causing Global Warming where the causes and amounts of carbon dioxide are treated in some detail.
Unless you have solar panels, a wind turbine, or generate your own electricity, you are probably getting your power from a large utility. How “clean” your electricity is depends on how your utility buys or generates the power. At this time for example, a lot of power still comes from coal fired and natural gas generators.
Calculate carbon footprint: Your utility should provide information on where your power is coming from. Lots of utilities are giving a “green” power option these days. You can often just select where you want your power to come from. It sounds good. If you want to be sure of where your power is coming from, generate your own.
We know a guy that gets all of his electricity from solar panels, and another that gets all his electricity from hydroelectric sources. They both have EV’s. They are putting close to zero carbon into the air when driving and charging their cars.
A great way to calculate carbon footprint is to put your usage values into a web calculator such as My Carbon Footprint.
CO2 levels have passed 400 ppm
Since you will probably be charging your EV from home, you need to check how many kWh you are using. Look at your utility bill, it’s on there. Take the kWh and multiply this times 1.37. This will give the average pounds of CO2 from your home electrical use, including charging your car. It is probably higher or lower, but it gives you an idea. For example if your bill says 100 kWh then 100 x 1.37 = 137 pounds (62.3 kg) of C02.
Another way to calculate carbon footprint for your EV is just to know how many kWh go into the battery pack to top it off. Just multiply this times 1.37 for an average carbon output for EV charging. If you drive a Nissan Leaf and put 20 kWh per day in there, you are effectively putting 20 x 1.37 = 27.4 pounds (12.5 kg) of C02 into the air. Compare this to a gasoline car where you would be putting 20 (9.1 kg) pounds of C02 into the air after 1 gallon of gas! The diagram below shows the balance.