This headline actually misrepresents the study. It compares the pollutants when
charging electric vehicles using only coal, only natural gas, only wind, etc. It
then compares those results with emissions from gas-burning cars. However, there
are two important caveats.First, the study did not likewise
determine the upstream pollutants for gasoline using only coal, only natural
gas, only wind, etc. Second, no utility region in this country uses exclusively
one source of energy. The study is looking at the extremes in theory --not the
grid in practice.The results in practice for our utility region
(NWPP) is that a gasoline car would need to get 86 MPG or higher to produce
fewer greenhouse gases than an electric vehicle.Of course, naysayers
always claim that those results are inaccurate because there are more coal-fired
plants in Utah than throughout the rest of our NWPP utility region. So what if
we pretend that electrons and emissions hit a brick wall at our state
boundaries? A gas car would still need to get 45 MPG or higher to emit fewer GHG
than an EV.Moreover, as the grid gets cleaner, so will EVs. Not so
with gas cars.
Unfortunately, this story does not accurately reflect the actual emissions from
vehicles along the Wasatch Front. While coal is the source for the majority of
electricity in the Wasatch Front, none of the coal-fired power plants are
located around the metro area and therefore do not contribute directly to the
region's air quality issues. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project did a
detailed analysis of the air quality impacts of electric vehicles as compared to
gasoline vehicles just over a year ago and found that electric vehicles reduce
emissions of all harmful pollutants when driven in the Wasatch Front. For
Particulate Matter, which is so critical during the wintertime inversions here,
electric vehicles emit between 50% and 65% less than a gasoline vehicle. Further, as Utah's electricity mix grows cleaner over time (less coal and
more renewables and natural gas) electric vehicles will also become cleaner.
Too bad they didn't go for the extra credit and explain how much pollution
is created when they mine the materials used in the batteries.
In other words, there's an elephant in your living room.
Further proof that all a politicion knows is how to win an election.