The fight for greener energy is not won simply by buying electric vehicles. Electricity still needs to be produced by a power plant in order for the vehicles to drive. There is also the issue of the environmental cost of production. Electric vehicles use more resources to be produced, primarily due to the rarity of the materials that comprise their batteries. These materials still need to be shipped in to the battery factories, and no one has ever seen an electric cargo ship.
Ultimately this means that electric vehicles have a much high upfront cost, in both economic and pollution terms, than their internal combustion engine counterparts. They do, however, produce less pollution during the act of driving, a fact that means over the long run, they have the opportunity to come out on top.
In fact, a recent study published by Climate Central claims that in 37 states, at least one type of electric or hybrid vehicle will have a smaller environmental over the course of 100,000 miles of operation when compared to the traditional gas powered car. This is a major improvement from 13 states in 2013. There are several variables that factor into their analysis, primarily the environmental cost of production and the forms of power generation in the state itself: the greener the power plants, the better the opportunity for electric vehicles to leave a smaller carbon footprint.
In the end, simply keeping your current vehicle may be the best course of action in terms of pollution. As long as your car maintains a reasonable fuel economy, the cost of production of a new car will always offset any potential benefit of future savings. This unfortunate fact can not be neglected, as it points to our over consumption as a main driver of environment degradation. The effects of behavioral changes such as carpooling, public transportation, and living closer to work can not be undermined as well. The fight to save our home must be won on all fronts.