Electric vehicles cleaner than gasoline, anywhere

By David Worthington | April 16, 2012,


Scientists have analyzed how emissions generated from charging electric vehicles compare to gasoline-powered vehicles in the United States. The conclusion: even coal-fueled electricity is a cleaner alternative.

The report, “State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings Across the United States,” was published today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). It breaks down how regional differences in how electricity is made affect reducing global warming emissions and fuel savings. A key finding was that an EV would be a greener choice than most conventional automobiles even in areas where power plants are dependent upon fossil fuels. The worst case was emissions equivalent to a 33-MPG compact car.

USC uncovered that nearly half of Americans live in the most ideal regions where grid conditions make EVs even more efficient than even gasoline hybrids. EVs in those areas have lower global warming emissions than a 50-MPG hybrid.

“This report shows drivers should feel confident that owning an electric vehicle is a good choice for reducing global warming pollution, cutting fuel costs, and slashing oil consumption,” said Don Anair, the report’s author and senior engineer for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program.

UCS was founded in in 1969 by a group of scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to promote the use of science for public interest. It is strongly opposed to any political interference in scientific research.

Dr. James McCarthy, a biological oceanography professor at Harvard University, is currentchairperson of UCS. The group has supported a moratorium on new coal power plants, and advocates for the development of new technologies to combat climate change.



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