Frequently Asked Questions

How much carbon dioxide is produced by burning gasoline and diesel fuel?

About 19.64 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) are produced from burning a gallon of gasoline that does not contain ethanol. Most of the retail gasoline now sold in the U.S. contains about 10% ethanol by volume.  Under international agreement, CO2 from ethanol and other biofuels are not counted at the tailpipe, so burning a gallon of gasoline with 10% ethanol produces about 17.68 pounds of CO2.

About 22.38 pounds of CO2 are produced by burning a gallon of diesel fuel. It is possible to buy biodiesel fuel in some states. Burning a gallon of  “B10” (diesel fuel containing 10% biodiesel by volume) results in emission of about 20 pounds of CO2.

EIA estimates1 that U.S. gasoline and diesel fuel consumption for transportation in 2012 resulted in the emission of about 1,089 and 422 million metric tons of CO2 respectively, for a total of 1,511 million metric tons of CO2. This total was equivalent to 83% of total CO2 emissions by the U.S. transportation sector and 29% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions.

1 As of April 18, 2013

Learn more:

CO2 emission factors for transportation fuels

Historical U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions by sector by month and year.

U.S. unit to metric conversions

Last updated: April 18, 2013


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