Tesla vehicles helped reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere in 2021, the company recently said in its annual Impact Report. The company’s electric vehicles are a popular option for technology and automotive enthusiasts looking to experience what the future of driving might look like. Tesla’s cars include Autopilot, an autonomous driving assistant that many hope will one day become full autonomous self-driving. Besides the new tech and niche features, there’s another reason to buy a Tesla — its environmental impact. It’s clear that driving an electric vehicles will be less damaging to the environment than a combustion-engine vehicle, but just how much has Tesla reduced carbon dioxide emissions?
More people have considered trying out an electric vehicle due to the strain on the automotive market in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic. The microchip shortage limited the amount of cars that could be produced by even the largest automakers, since modern vehicles include a slew of processors. This, in turn, raised the sticker prices of cars making them less accessible to the masses. To make the matter worse, the Russo-Ukrainian conflict has skyrocketed gasoline prices. All of these factors have made it significantly more expensive to own and operate a traditional car in 2022 compared to a few years earlier. That’s what has made the prospect of owning a Tesla so compelling — they are cheaper to fuel and they have a less detrimental impact on the environment.
The company released its 2021 Tesla Impact Report, which chronicles Tesla’s impact on the world and includes environmental, social, and governance factors. While the report takes into account a variety of different factors, it is broken down into individual sectors. Tesla’s electric vehicles had a profound impact on carbon dioxide emissions last year, releasing less than half as much carbon dioxide as a traditional combustion engine vehicle. The company says that the average car uses 8,000 U.S. gallons of gasoline per year, which results in 70 tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. By comparison, the average Tesla uses 70 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, and nets 30 tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
In total, Tesla’s lineup of products and services — this includes cars, energy storage solutions, and solar panels — reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The company says that these three factors resulted in the avoidance of 8.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Electric cars were the largest source of savings, with Tesla vehicles emitting 6.8 million metric tons less than the average combustion engine vehicles. In addition, Tesla solar panels and energy storage solutions saved 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, since these energy sources are completely clean.
Tesla’s environmental impact can be tricky to calculate, especially on a year-to-year basis, due to the fact that the company’s numbers are gathered using the current global electrical grid mix. It might be a surprise to some, but using electricity does have a tangible impact on the environment. Though an electric vehicle doesn’t directly release carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, it uses electricity that is generated by processes that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As a result, Tesla’s environmental impact is in part determined by the methods in which electricity is harvested. For now, Tesla’s vehicles have released significantly less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the average combustion engine vehicle.
Source: 2021 Tesla Impact Report
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