ICE vs EV Vehicles: Effects on the Environment

Reviewed by
Vedant Khamesra
Published date:
November 17, 2022

In response to the mounting pressures posed by climate change, industries of all kinds are altering their practices and turning to environmentally friendly, sustainable solutions for doing business. Increasingly, the fleet transport industry is a big factor in that conversation. 

Traditional fleet transport contributes to environmental stress due to the greenhouse gas emissions trucks and other vehicles discharge when they transport goods. That’s why many companies are considering the switch from ICE vehicles to EVs to fully reap the benefits of fleet management.

Curious about the differences between ICE vs EV vehicles and how they relate to fleet transport? Keep reading for everything you need to know. 

ICE Vehicles & How They Impact the Environment

An internal combustion engine vehicle or “ICE” vehicle is an automobile powered by conventional, oil-derived resources, such as gasoline or diesel fuel 1. Compared to an electric vehicle or hybrid electric vehicle, an ICE vehicle offers more engine power than the average electric vehicle and is typically less expensive to purchase. 

That said, once you factor in the fuel costs, regular maintenance costs, and repairs, they tend to be more costly in the long run.

More than that, ICE vehicles create more emissions for the planet. When they’re in use, they release harmful gas and chemical agents into the air. These pollutants can dilute air quality. 

There are three primary kinds of pollution that ICE vehicles emit:

  • Air pollution – This refers to greenhouse-gas-causing emissions and other toxins  released into the air while you’re driving. Tiny particles of gas are emitted in the engine exhaust through the tailpipe. Tailpipe emissions account for the majority of the 24 lbs of gas emissions that cars produce per every gallon of gas 2—and that’s just for cars. Transport vehicles are heavier and, thus, produce more gas emissions.
  • Land waste – Leaks and spills from oil and fuel are another way that ICE vehicles are considered harmful to the environment. These toxic liquids seep off of roads and highways and into the ground, where they can damage ecologies and pollute water sources. 
  • Noise pollution – The noise produced by cars might not seem like a big threat, but according to the World Health Organization, even this kind of pollution can be bad for populations. Studies have linked it to a range of health issues, including cardiovascular decline and mental health 3

It should be noted that those are only the impacts of using automobiles. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of ICE vehicles takes another toll on the planet, contributing to energy consumption and material waste. 

Likewise, their reliance on oil-based fuel sources. Those 24 lbs of gas emissions noted above that the average car produces for every gallon of gas? About five of them are associated with how gasoline is sourced, produced, and distributed. Beyond that, drilling for oil and gas disrupts wildlife, damages wildlands, and pollutes oceans.

Electric Vehicles & How They Impact the Environment

Electric vehicles, or EVs, are a relatively new trend in automobile manufacturing. Instead of using an internal combustion engine, these vehicles rely on a battery for power 4. And instead of fueling up, the car is plugged into an electric charging station. How’s that for enhanced fleet fuel management?

Typically, electric vehicles are more expensive upfront than ICE vehicles, although this is changing as manufacturing methods are refined and new technologies are developed that make EVs more accessible. Likewise, the common assumption that EVs are only available as sedans is also changing as more and more manufacturers work to produce both fully electric and hybrid electric models in a greater variety—including fleet transport trucks.

That said, when it comes to long-term savings, an ICE vehicle can’t compete with an electric car. Electric vehicles can save you money in two key ways:

  • Fuel – When it comes to searching for ways to reduce fuel cost, EVs offer nearly inestimable savings. EV’s battery can be charged at one of the more than 50,000 charging stations nationwide, and most of them can travel about 200 miles on a full charge, which is nearly the same distance the average ICE car can go on a full tank of gas 5.
  • Maintenance – An electric car requires less maintenance than an ICE vehicle 6. Their batteries and motors don’t need regular attention, nor do the electronic mechanisms that make them run. And as an oil-free solution, you won’t be shelling out money on oil changes every three months.

Of course, there is a range of environmental bonuses associated with EVS in addition to those financial perks. Compared to ICE vehicles or gas powered vehicles, they are by far the more environmentally conscious option.

The first reason for this is that EVs do not produce tailpipe emissions. With gas or oil needed to run the machine, there’s nothing to emit. As such, their contribution to air pollution is drastically reduced, although there may still be minimal amounts of carbon pollution produced by the charging process. However, that can vary depending on how energy is sourced locally. 

Likewise, the methods and materials used to manufacture electric cars can cause pollution. But even factoring in production emissions and charging pollutants, EVs are far less detrimental to the environment than ICE automobiles.

Fleet Transportation and the Environment

According to reports, upwards of 49 million tons of goods are shipped around the United States every day 7. That represents all the grocery items that are on their way to store shelves, the electronics and apparel that are on their way to your home, plus the untold amounts of raw materials that are transported to make these products. All told, fleet transportation ships about $52 million worth of goods on a daily basis.

But all of that transport takes a big toll on the environment. Because so many of the trucks that are used to transport goods are powered by an internal combustion engine, they contribute the same environmental hazards as our personal cars do, contributing to air, noise, and land pollution.

ICE vehicles used in fleet transport have been linked to air quality issues like smog, as well as ecological stresses from land waste. But the industry also uses up a lot of energy to connect people everywhere with the products they need. 

The industry is heavily reliant on two vital resources: 

  • Gasoline – In 2019, fleet transport trucks used up 179,991 million gallons of gasoline, including diesel gas 8. This level of consumption contributes to tailpipe emissions and increases demand for gasoline, which in turn impacts the environment through the pollution associated with extraction.
  • Energy – The fleet transportation industry claimed 5,490 trillion BTUs of energy in 2019, more than any other sector of the freight transportation industry, including pipeline, rail, and water 9

For this reason, it’s more important than ever for fleet transportation companies to rethink how they do business. And many of them, from huge corporations to smaller businesses, are switching to EVs. Fleet electrification planning is one of the ways businesses can prepare for this transition.


Increasing Demand for EV Vehicles

The demand for EVs in fleet transportation is high. Driven by a desire to cut costs and cut down on pollution, fleet companies are putting pressure on EV makers like Tesla and Volvo to amp up production of freight-worthy electric vehicles. In response, those manufacturers have vowed to make more EVs for transport within the next year. 

That’s great news for shipping companies that want to lessen their environmental impact and get in on the long-term savings of electric vehicles. But it isn’t just automobile manufacturers who are helping businesses use EVs effectively. Companies from a range of sectors are innovating ways for transportation businesses to perform in ways that are less environmentally impactful.

For example, many companies rely on a business fuel card that drivers use to fuel up without dipping into their own pockets. AtoB is bringing that convenience to the world of EVs with electric fuel cards you can use anywhere Visa is accepted. 

This powerful and convenient fuel card comes pre-loaded with business features you can’t afford to pass up, including:

  • All of your fuel expenses on one card
  • Executive discounts on fuel
  • Security features to prevent misuse and control spend

Take Control Of Your Fleet With AtoB

Managing an entire fleet of freight transport trucks isn’t easy. It requires the coordination of many moving parts, plus a savvy for business functions and operations. Paying employees, budgeting fuel expenses, mapping routes—there’s a lot to consider if you want things to run smoothly. 

Fortunately, there’s a way to streamline the entire process and take control of your entire fleet.

Welcome to AtoB. We’re helping fleet companies everywhere fine-tune their operations, revitalize business, and keep their trucks on the road. Our cutting-edge platform makes it easy for you to manage all of your costs all in one place. From processing payroll to paying for gas, we’ve covered every aspect of the business to help you save money, retain drivers, and keep your fleet moving.

Our platform is user-friendly and can integrate with your other regular or EV fleet management systems, and our driver-centric app is packed with features that help your drivers find the best routes and deals on gas, so don’t delay.

Why wait to fill out your AtoB fuel card application? Let AtoB fuel your fleet today and tomorrow.  Learn more about EV Vehicles with AtoB.


ElastoProxy. ICE Vehicles vs. Electric Vehicles.

Union of Concerned Scientists. Car Emissions & Global Warming.

StreetsBlog USA. The Other Type of Car Pollution That Harms Us All. 

Environmental Protection Agency. Electric Vehicle Myths. 

U.S. Department of Energy. Alternative Fuels Data Center: Maintenance and Safety of Electric Vehicles.

Environmental Protection Agency. Why Freight MAtters to Supply Chain Sustainability.

U.S. Department of Transportation. Freight Transportation Energy Use & Environmental Impacts.


1 ElastoProxy. ICE Vehicles vs. Electric Vehicles.

2 Union of Concerned Scientists. Car Emissions & Global Warming. 

3 StreetsBlog USA. The Other Type of Car Pollution That Harms Us All. 

4 ElastoProxy. ICE Vehicles vs. Electric Vehicles.

5 Environmental Protection Agency. Electric Vehicle Myths. 

6 U.S. Department of Energy. Alternative Fuels Data Center: Maintenance and Safety of Electric Vehicles.

7 Environmental Protection Agency. Why Freight MAtters to Supply Chain Sustainability.

8 U.S. Department of Transportation. Freight Transportation Energy Use & Environmental Impacts. 

9 U.S. Department of Transportation. Freight Transportation Energy Use & Environmental Impacts. 

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Reviewed by

Vedant Khamesra

Vedant Khamesra is the driving force behind product management at AtoB. Specializing in strategic partnerships, SMB solutions, and new product development, Vedant seamlessly navigates P&L responsibilities while leading product execution and strategy. He is fueled by AtoB's mission to empower truckers and fleets with intelligent financial tools and services, making their lives easier and more rewarding.

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