March 2022


Fuels Institute Report Shows Differences in Carbon Emissions

A new report by the Fuels Institute evaluates the life-cycle carbon emissions of battery electric (BEV), internal combustion (ICEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). 

The report, “Life Cycle Analysis Comparison – Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles,” compares the energy sources that power these three vehicle types, the effect of external variables on life-cycle carbon emissions and the corresponding total cost of ownership that affects consumers.

“The Fuels Institute was not seeking to publish a definitive answer to the debate concerning which vehicles are cleaner, but rather we wanted to provide an objective evaluation to help guide discussions focused on how we might improve emissions throughout the transportation market,” said Fuels Institute Executive Director John Eichberger. 

The report found that based upon the U.S. average electricity sector, BEVs emit 41% fewer tons of greenhouse gases than comparable ICEVs. HEVs emit 29% fewer tons of greenhouse gases than ICEVs and 21% more than BEVs. 

In low carbon electricity markets, BEVs emit 71% fewer tons of greenhouse gases than ICEVs; in extremely high carbon electricity markets, BEVs emit 16% more than ICEVs and 59% more than HEVs. 

Seventy-two percent of greenhouse gases emitted by BEVs are associated with electricity generation. Over a 10- year period, on average, BEVs and HEVs represent an 8% lower total cost town compared with an ICEV, driven primarily by lower fuel expenditures. 

As explained in the report, “Decarbonization of electricity appears to be the biggest driver in reducing the life-cycle emissions from the vehicle, followed by technological advancements in vehicle systems. Larger scale adoption propels the technology growth faster due to economies of scale.” 

The report also compares the total cost of owning a BEV, HEV and ICE vehicle. Overall, a BEV saves the owner about $10,000 over the ICE vehicle. Download the report at