Bike Jam, Chicago

Clean Transportation

E-Bike Carbon Impact Math Factsheet

Electric bicycles offer surprising potential for sustainable transportation.

Electric bikes create no carbon emissions or air pollution while riding. But even if you factor in the impacts of manufacturing, electric charging, and food for the rider, an e-bike is responsible for 93% less climate impact than a fossil-fueled passenger vehicle per mile.

Many cities, states, and utilities are looking into e-bike rebates to reduce pollution and congestion. If Chicago implemented a Denver-style rebate program, we could get thousands of people out of their cars and reduce carbon emissions. Find the full source list and math in the factsheet above. Or read more about e-bike’s transportation potential in the blog below.



By offsetting miles traveled by fossil-fuel vehicles, encouraging e-bikes could also help reduce multiple air pollutants associated with driving, and help the state to meet its criteria pollutant standards. If Chicago could put nearly $18 million towards an e-bike program that proved as successful as Denver’s, the nearly 18,000 riders here offsetting 22mi/wk of driving would also reduce PM2.5 by 83.3kg/yr, VOCs by 21,136kg/yr, and NOx by 14,165.6kg/yr, improving air quality for millions.

Passenger car air quality numbers (source)

PM2.5 – 22 x .0041 = .0902g per bike/wk, but collectively .0902g x 17868 = 1,611.6936g/wk or 1,611.6936 x 52 = 83,808.0672g/yr = 83.8kg/yr

NOx – .693g x 22mi = 15.246g/bike/wk, but collectively 15.246g x 17,868 = 272,415.528g/wk or 272,415.528g x 52 = 14,165,607.5g/yr = 14,165.6kg/yr

Carbon monoxide – 9.400g x22mi = 206.8g/bike/wk, but collectively 206.8 x 17,868 bikes = 3,695,102.4g/wk or 3,695,102.4 x 52 weeks = 192,145,325g/yr = 192,145kg/yr

VOCs – 1.034g x 22mi = 22.748g/bike/wk, collectively 22.748 x 17,868 bikes = 406,461.264g/wk or 406,461.264 x 52 = 21,135,985.7g/yr = 21,136kg/yr

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