Why do electric car emission calculations include everything but combustion engine cars only the fuel they use?

There is a constant attempt to make electric cars sound less clean than they are. Now, for a start, in order for these calculations to work at all, the most polluting electricity is usually used. Next the amount of energy used to create the car and the emissions in this process is added.

Is the balance of carbon emissions we are told are created accurate? no of course not

This is then compared to the emissions from the tailpipe of a combustion engine car.

Now I cannot be the only person who finds this strange. For a start, while electric batteries use a lot of energy to create, this generally means that electric cars only create perhaps a third or a half extra emissions over the combustion engine car. This is obviously stupid, a fair comparison must include the emissions to create the car to start with.

The other thing that is often missed is the emissions to get the fossil fuels and then the refining. However getting this fuel is extremely power intensive.

The land-based oil wells within the USA use enough electricity for 15 million electric cars full fuel requirements. Offshore oil is accessed using a diesel generator (as there is no mains out at sea) and each one uses roughly 20 to 30 cubic metres of diesel per day (equivalent of 300,000 kilowatt hours). There are 3,470 of these rigs around the world. They use the equivalent of roughly 1,300,000,000 kWh per month. This would be enough to run almost 20 million electric cars (and this obviously ignores all the energy in the fuel itself). 

You then need to add the energy cost of pumping the oil around the world. There are currently roughly 337,000 miles of oil pipelines (these carry most of the 100 million barrels of oil we consume a day). 

Obviously this along with the huge pollution caused by oil shipping tankers add a huge amount of extra emissions. Shipping accounts for roughly 1 billion (1,000,000,000) tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, of which roughly 10% is oil – 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide released.

The old refineries work by heating the oil up to 400 degrees Celsius. This is also using huge amounts of energy, most of which comes from the use of fossil fuels. The amount refineries use is so high that they generally cause a significant pollution source in every area they operate. Indeed in most parts of the world fossil fuel refineries are the biggest polluters around

If you are wishing to show show people numbers in an easy-to-understand way I include a link to an animation which Robert Llewellyn voiced. He included this on the Fully Charged YouTube channel.

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