The Biofuels Digest has reported that a new study found that cars running on corn-based E85 have 30 percent lower CO2 emissions over the car’s lifetime than the Tesla Roadster, an all electric vehicle running on coal-based electricity. These results are based on the new CAFE standards that were passed this summer. But maybe more interesting, the study found that the Tesla will actually create 21 percent more C02 emissions than a car running on conventional gas.
The full study, based on the GREET model for corn ethanol emissions, can be downloaded here. Additional criteria used included the e85 fuel economy figures as established in the most recent University of Nebraska study; Tesla’s reports on miles per KWh, Department of Transportation figures on auto lifespan, EIA data on electricity prices, E85 price data from e85prices.com, and EPA figures on emissions from coal-fired power generation.
Although the operating costs of driving a car vary from state to state, the Digest also found that, “based on current ethanol prices, the total increase in cost of ownership for running an E85 vehicle in the US is $19 per year, compared to a non-flex fuel vehicle running conventional gasoline (with up to 10 percent ethanol content). E85 saves an average of 6 tons of CO2 emissions over the average life of a vehicle, when utilizing corn ethanol, and up to 36 tons of CO2 when running on cellulosic ethanol derived from waste biomass.”