Most analyses say no, and the best of the most recent studies say the gap is widening, but it's still worth thinking through.
By BRUCE ARMSTRONG TAYLOR
July 7, 2021
The very best, most sustainable answer to this question is that the vehicle you don't buy is the most sustainable of all. I'm waiting for autonomous, self-driving EV by subscription or shared ownership, frankly. And given a certain other factor, there's a good possibility that may never happen.
I've gone back over a decade to review study reports on this question. This piece published bit over a year ago in Medium.com's Age of Awareness I found thoughtful. The upshot, for me, is that I will keep our very low-mileage 2017 Subaru Forester that gets middlingly good mileage for a small SUV.
I will dump what I consider to be our "estate and dog truck," a 2003 Honda Pilot (easily one of the very best cars we've ever owned). High mileage, made before significant advancements in gas engine emission controls, and has a transmission issue that consigns it to "dog and ranch" tasks requiring only slow, limited-distrance in town and backroad driving (trying like hell to stay out of everybody's way).
Do we need a second car? No. I work from home, and we can work out schedules.
So, here's my only kicker from an eco-ethical behavior perspective. If I were to trade this great little Forrester for an EV now, the one really positive contribution I would be making is to help accelerate the adoption of EVs and the necessary charging infrastructure development that goes with.
Our house is already 125% solar, so adding a house plug-in adapter is already clean-energy smart.
We have already altered our driving behavior and habits to the new reality of less is better. That is unlikely to change regardless.
My final consideration then is this: Do trade for an EV now? Give up on my insistence of awaiting fully self-driving vehicles and a new economic model such as subscription (as opposed to lease).
Let me know what you think.