Fact Check: Electric Vehicles and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Facebook’s viral post makes some claims about carbon dioxide emissions in electric vehicles. The VERIFY team has broken down the claim.

The federal government and some states offer incentives to promote the sale of electric vehicles. August, President Joe Biden Set goals Electric vehicles now account for half of the new cars sold in the United States in 2030.

But some viewers sent VERIFY Facebook post This has been shared at least 1,900 times and claims that electric vehicles actually have large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.

VERIFY analyzed the three claims in the post to determine what was accurate and what wasn’t.


“The total fuel consumption of US airlines is about 19 billion gallons annually.”



This statistic is accurate for fuel consumption in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

What we found

Transport Statistics Bureau Track airline fuel costs and US airline consumption. According to the data, US airlines consumed 18.27 billion gallons of fuel in 2019. This is the most common since 2007.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of people flying, reducing total fuel consumption by US airlines to 10.28 billion gallons, according to the Department of Transportation Statistics.

From January to August 2021, US airlines consumed approximately 8.7 billion gallons of fuel. This is a 24% increase compared to the same period in 2020.


“The total fuel consumption of ore to make electric vehicle batteries is about 21 billion gallons per year. Burned 21 billion gallons of fuel is enough ore to make 250,000 electric vehicle batteries. Can only be produced. “

Source of information


This can be misleading.

No detailed analysis has been done to determine the accuracy of the claim, but electric vehicle expert VERIFY said the mathematics do not add up.

What we found

There is no single data source to track this information.

David Checkel, a professor at the University of Alberta and an electric vehicle expert, did napkin mathematics to challenge this claim. Checkel calculated that if the cost per gallon of fuel was $ 3, the cost of 21 billion gallons would be $ 63 billion annually. If $ 63 billion was the price tag for 250,000 batteries, the raw material cost for each battery would be over $ 250,000.

Compared to the cost of buying an electric car, Chekkel says the number is “tremendously high.” Suggested retail price for Tesla Model 3. US Department of Energy Says it was the best-selling plug-in electric vehicle in the United States in 2018 and 2019 $ 41,990..

We rate this claim as misleading, as detailed analysis is required to ultimately prove this to be incorrect.


“Batteries have a lifespan of 10 years and are not renewable. By 2050, these batteries will fill the landfill with 50 million pounds of undecomposed waste.”

Source of information


This can be misleading.

Car battery life depends on the manufacturer. Many automotive batteries are currently being recycled, and the growing popularity of lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries is expected to improve over the next few years.

What we found

Automaker Renault quote Battery life is 10 years for automobiles. According to automakers, batteries can be used for fixed purposes, such as storing electricity outside the car for up to 10 years.

The exact life depends on the manufacturer.

For the second part of the claim, the 50 million numbers 2019 study It was put on an electric car by the American Petroleum Institute, but out of context. The authors explained how a recycling company processed £ 50m of batteries a year and reused them.

Almost all car batteries are now recycled, according to Chekkel. There are concerns about the future recycling of lithium-ion batteries, which he said is likely to dominate the world of electric vehicles.

Estimate Proposed in 2019 Less than 5% Lithium-ion batteries were being recycled.

However, Checkel said that when the automotive industry determines which recycling process is the most material-efficient and cost-effective, materials from electric vehicle batteries “enter the recycling loop and are reliably reused.” He said he was expecting it.

A federal consortium for advanced batteries, led by the energy, defense, commercial, state and other government sector. Report released in 2021 It aims for a 90% recycling rate of lithium-ion batteries by 2030, including those used in electric vehicles.

Tesla says 100% Of the discarded lithium-ion batteries, they are recycled. Ford announced in September 2021 that it has partnered with battery materials company Redwood Materials to improve the recycling of batteries for electric vehicles.

“On average, Redwood’s recycling technology can recover over 95% of the elements such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper.” Ford said.. “These materials can be reused in a closed loop where Redwood moves to produce anode copper foil and cathode active material for future battery manufacturing.”

Other articles on VERIFY: No, electric cars are less harmful to the environment than gasoline cars

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Fact Check: Electric Vehicles and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

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