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Electric vs. conventional cars — how to compare efficiency

Comparing the efficiency of plug-in and gasoline-powered vehicles can be confusing — especially when comparing MPG (miles per gallon) to MPKwH (miles per kilowatt-hour).

The all-electricTesla Model S
The all-electricTesla Model S

Michael Moyer of Scientific American explains why the EPA’s new MPGe unit of measurement — miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent — fails to clear up the apples-to-oranges problem:

“Consumers tend to use the old-fashioned MPG metric as shorthand for many things — including how green the car is and the cost of driving — that don’t jibe neatly with MPGe. For example, the carbon footprint of an electric vehicle strongly depends on local electricity sources.”

Read Moyer’s full article in Scientific American.

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