The carbon-offset powers that be over at TerraPass have updated its online, carbon footprint calculator to include estimates for greenhouse gas emissions from electric vehicles (EVs). Though EVs do not directly emit greenhouse gases, most – not all – do generate some emissions along the line when the electricity used to recharge the batteries is generated.
Following the Environmental Protection Agency's lead, the TerraPass calculator utilizes the "miles per gallon-equivalent" figure displayed on a vehicle's window sticker to make its calculations, with a "gallon-equivalent" pegged at 33.7 kWhs. For example, the EPA officially rates the battery-powered Nissan Leaf at 99 MPGe. The electric vehicle calculations on TerraPass are available by clicking the "Alternative Fuel" option on the site's main carbon calculator page. Users can then enter the MPGe for any battery-powered vehicle.
In addition, the calculator update provides emissions estimates for all 2011 model year vehicles on sale nationwide.
TerraPass (www.terrapass.com), a leading provider of carbon offsets, has released an update to its carbon footprint calculator (www.terrapass.com/carbon-footprint-calculator/), an online tool that helps individuals calculate their greenhouse gas emissions from driving, flying, and home energy usage. For the first time, the calculator now makes it possible to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from driving all-electric vehicles.
Though electric vehicles do not emit greenhouse gases directly, emissions arise from generating the electricity required to charge the cars' batteries. Following the US EPA's lead, the TerraPass calculator uses the "miles per gallon-equivalent" figure shown on vehicle sales stickers as an input to its calculations. Since electric cars don't use gasoline, a "gallon-equivalent" is pegged at 33.7 kilowatt-hours, the quantity of stored electrical energy equivalent to the energy stored in one gallon of gasoline. For example, the EPA rates the all-electric Nissan Leaf at 99 miles per gallon-equivalent.
The all-electric vehicle calculations are available through the Alternative Fuel option on the main calculator page. This option also allows users to calculate the footprint of vehicles powered by biodiesel, compressed natural gas, and ethanol. In all cases, the user enters the miles per gallon (or gallon-equivalent) from their own experience or from the US EPA, as well as the number of miles they drive each year.
The calculator update also provides emissions estimates for all 2011-model cars on sale nationwide, making the TerraPass calculator the most comprehensive US vehicle calculator available. Though many calculators use EPA data, the EPA's public dataset contained substantial errors and omissions this year.
"For literally hundreds of car models, we went back to source data and either corrected or supplemented the EPA dataset," said Erin Craig, TerraPass' CEO. "Our customers were helpful in road-testing our calculator to make sure we got it right."
A look at a few of the most fuel-efficient vehicles provided the following figures (lbs of CO2 per year with 12,000 miles driven):
* Toyota Prius: 4,661 lbs CO2
* Lexus CT 200h: 5,549 lbs CO2
* Nissan Leaf: 5,588 lbs CO2
* Honda Civic Hybrid: 5,684
* Honda CR-Z: 6,298 lbs CO2
For more information about the TerraPass carbon calculator, visit www.terrapass.com/carbon-footprint-calculator/.
Launched in 2004, TerraPass works with developers of greenhouse gas reduction projects to bring to market renewable energy and independently-verified carbon offsets. TerraPass manages a portfolio of more than 20 emissions reduction projects across the United States, primarily focused on waste-to-energy. With projects registered under the Climate Action Reserve and the Verified Carbon Standard, the company is an award-winning provider of carbon offsets and serves both voluntary and compliance buyers. For more information, visit www.terrapass.com or call +1 415-692-3411.