Sure, everybody knows that what you drive affects how much you warm the climate. But now, for the graphically oriented: a chart that proves the point!
Just to be clear: this includes only the emissions from the highway fuel itself. It doesn’t include upstream emissions, from drilling for oil and refining it into gasoline or diesel. And it doesn’t include emissions from vehicle manufacturing. In other words, these are conservative figures—so use them with caution.
This is all fairly obvious stuff—I mean, at this point, doesn’t everyone understand that a Hummer pollutes more than a Prius? Still, I think there’s something kind of compelling about this figure. The gap between the Prius and the Hummer is freaking ginormous.
More tellingly, the gap between the Prius and the average car is much wider than between cars and SUVs. Perhaps that’s one reason that the rhetorical war over cars vs. SUVs, which seemed to be in full swing a few a few years back, has cooled a bit recently. In terms of climate change, the divide between super-efficient cars and plain-vanilla combustion engines seems to be where the rubber meets the road.
(Research hat tip to Justin Brant!)