EGEB: Tesla (surprise!) is the most eco-friendly car brand — study

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • A fuel economy study finds Tesla averages the most MPGe for midsize cars, large cars, and SUVs.
  • Europe announces its own Green New Deal.
  • US onshore wind capacity exceeds 100 gigawatts — and Texas is the leader.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Tesla is top for MPGe

A new study conducted by comparison website titled “Fuel Economy Trends” analyzed 10 years of data from the US Department of Energy. The point of the study was to understand how fuel efficiency has changed in the US by looking at air and greenhouse gas pollution scores. It asks the question, “Have vehicles become more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly?”

When it comes to comparing electric to gas:

By calculating ‘the number of miles the vehicle can go using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline,’ manufacturers can find the miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent or MPGe. Considering the average electric vehicle releases the same emissions as a vehicle that gets 80 mpg, electric cars impact average mpg levels significantly.

In 2011, electric and hybrid cars only made up 2% of the US market, but now make up 10%.

You can read the entire report here, but the main takeaways are:

  • Electric cars lead the pack for the highest MPGe — specifically, Hyundai (128 MPGe), Volkswagen (119 MPGe), and Chevrolet (119 MPGe).
  • The most eco-friendly car brand is Tesla (10/10), followed by Hyundai (6/10).
  • Fuel efficiency has increased by an average of 6.5 MPG (from 20.0 to 26.5) over the last decade.
  • Infiniti and Dodge rank among the 10 worst brands when it comes to air pollution and greenhouse gas scores.
  • Manufacturers with the lowest MPG were mainly luxury or sports cars. Bentley had the lowest MPG among midsize and small cars, while Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini had the lowest for large cars and SUVs, respectively.
  • Honda has the only gasoline/diesel vehicles to average over 30 MPG.

But here’s the good news: Electric vehicles are expected to make up more than half of the new cars sold in the next 20 years. If we’re lucky, maybe it’ll be even more than that.

Europe’s Green New Deal

The European Commission (EC) released a new climate change action plan on Wednesday known as the European Green Deal, with the subtitle, “striving to be the first climate-neutral continent.” The plan aims to make the European Union “climate neutral” by 2050.

The Hill explains:

The EU is currently third, behind China and the United States, in global greenhouse gas emissions. The new plan contains even more ambitious emissions cuts than the EU’s Paris Climate Agreement commitments. The EU’s goal for 2030 has gone from a 40% reduction to a 50% reduction, with the added goal for 2050 of eliminating 100% of the bloc’s net greenhouse gas emissions.

But the European Green Deal is light on the details of how this massive transition would actually proceed. For example, the plan doesn’t provide a detailed description of the energy sources that would power the EU to zero emissions by 2050, what technologies might help it get there, or any policy mechanisms that could help incentivize climate-friendly business practices. [EC president Ursula] von der Leyen acknowledged this, calling it a ‘broad road map,’ rather than a step-by-step action plan.

However, the plan does recommend a carbon tax that would apply to emissions associated with imports from countries with weaker climate policies.

Ester Asin, director of the European policy office at the World Wildlife Foundation, said of the new plan to the Guardian:

The proposed package is comprehensive, identifying the right areas for action — from biodiversity and nature restoration to climate change and stopping deforestation.

However, by emphasizing continued economic growth as a key objective, the commission has missed an opportunity to challenge the traditional growth paradigm in favor of an approach that would respect planetary boundaries.

US wind power is growing

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), as of September 2019, cumulative US-installed onshore wind capacity exceeded 100 gigawatts (GW) on a nameplate capacity basis.

As of Q3 2019, 41 states had at least one installed wind turbine. Texas led the country with the most capacity at 26.9 GW, followed by Iowa (8.9 GW), Oklahoma (8.1 GW), Kansas (6.2 GW), and California (6.1 GW). The top four states make up 50% of the total US installed wind capacity.

The EIA expects that an additional 7.2 GW of wind capacity will come online in December 2019 and that another 14.3 GW of wind capacity will come online next year. That would put the US at about 122 GW of wind capacity by the end of 2020.

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.