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U.S. study: All-electric car may not be so green

29 Comments
By SETH BORENSTEIN

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29 Comments
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The headline here is incorrect and sensational. The car itself is green. The method of producing electricity is not green. They are affixing the source of the issue to the wrong element.

I'm also curious about the problems with ethanol based cars, which they barely touched on. As I understand it (maybe incorrectly), burning ethanol only releases water and oxygen, so I'm not clear on why this would be bad for the environment - and this article didn't enlighten me whatsoever on the matter.

-2 ( +3 / -6 )

Strangerland, it's spot on.

With the current system of generating electricity, Electric cars cause more pollution than gasoline cars.

If the power grid was run by wind and solar only, then electric cars would be less polluting.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Strangerland, it's spot on.

No, it's not. The cars themselves are not producing pollutants. The method of producing their fuel produces pollutants. That means the problem is not inherent in the cars, but rather in the method of producing power for the cars. It's a different thing.

With the current system of generating electricity, Electric cars cause more pollution than gasoline cars.

The cars do not cause any pollution. More pollution is caused by producing electricity that is then used by the cars.

If the power grid was run by wind and solar only, then electric cars would be less polluting.

The cars pollute (or rather don't), the same regardless of where the electricity is produced. The actual pollution happens when the power for the cars is created.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The internal combustion engine will not go away. The average size of the engine in the U.S. is currently around 3.0 litre. If the goverment passes law and enforce strict limits on the size of the engine to about 2.0 litre, the actual pollution that is released will be reduced substantially over the lifetime of the engine. Goverment should ban all future V8 and V6 engine. Let manufacturer design more fuel efficient cars and trucks for the future.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Are they taking into account the pollution produced in the production of gasoline as well? I highly doubt it.

Sensational headline. Sensational article. Just propaganda as always.

takes off tinfoil hat re-reads article

Yup, still the same. A wasted article. It's the same as attacking Solar Energy Production because it produces pollution to make the solar panels...in the short term it produces pollution but then diminishes it in the long run.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

sfjp330: ... Goverment should ban all future V8 and V6 engine. Let manufacturer design more fuel efficient cars and trucks for the future.

News photo the other day had the US proudly smushing an illegally-imported Mini Cooper or Mini Austin ... not fit for US highways ... think it said the owners had tried to go through all the hoops but hadn't jumped through enough of them, apparently ...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Is that why the Leaf is autumnal?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aaand in a few years the another US study will find out that Hydrogen Fuel Cells cars are "dangerous" because their fuel "explodes" and also "pollutes".....

Hurray for oil companies and big engines making car companies...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The headline here is incorrect and sensational.

Not really that sensational. If they tried to write it another way, the title would be too long. I've seen much worse...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland - it's not just the production of electricity, it's the manufacturing process and transport of parts and product to markets around the world that is so wasteful and polluting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Are you reading a different article?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well doh.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Old news. It merely takes a few minutes of thinking to realize all electric vehicles are not green, Though the definition of green is ambiguous at best.

Also this completely ridiculous use of deaths caused by pollutants just makes the article less relevant. It's totally speculative because No one can attribute any death to one of the mention pollutants. They should have used measurable effects.

Also they don't appear to include the fact that centrally generated power uses more Fuel for the same usable power. 2/3 of of the power is lost in stepping up and again stepping down amps and volts in transformers. Also a station must generate excess power. So a natural gas car engine will be better than gasoline, but a natural gas power plant delivering on the grid will likely equal gasoline because of the need to use a lot more natural gas.

The most efficient option is a hybrid because it is better, cheaper, safer and less pollutive to move fuel.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

People... are you really thinking through?

Give you that producing electricity may cause more pollution (that is by burning hydrocarbons) and the construction of a electric car also may cause some level of pollutants, but not much higher than a "conventional" car.

The internal combustion car pollutes more... because it uses gas... yes... but also it uses a great amount of other types of oil engine lubricant oil mainly, also the nick and knacks like the engine band, the cylinder packing that use rubber.

All those elements come from petrol and are pollutant (how much do you think a used engine oil can be recycled?)...

The production of electricity for the car can and should be replaced by other means (aeolic, sun, geothermal, wave power, etc.) so the "pollution of creating electricity" can be solved.

This type of research clearly aims to benefit the oil companies (imagine that the US is right now the top oil producers in the world and the government is aiming to open the US oil market to the world) and the car companies that keep of creating the "american car", big noisy, poorly efficient, very fast... but poor steering.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Strangerland, Yes it is! No it isn't!

... The kindergartners chat room is down the hall.

You've made your comment. It's quite clear your opinion on the matter. I've also made my comment. There's no need to rehash the same argument

PS. (I'm right.)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

You've made your comment. It's quite clear your opinion on the matter.

I didn't state an opinion, I pointed out facts - facts that no one here has rebutted.

The cars themselves are not the source of the pollutants, and the title of the article is both incorrect and sensationalist.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The cars themselves are not producing pollutants. The method of producing their fuel produces pollutants. That means the problem is not inherent in the cars, but rather in the method of producing power for the cars. It's a different thing.

Technically yes. Perhaps the headline should have read "USE of all-electric cars", because unless you can afford your own personal wind turbine and bank of solar panels to generate electricity for the recharge, in far too many places your electric essentially becomes a coal fueled machine, and an inefficient one at that.

So, "use" of the all-electric cars then? I hope we can dispense with the hair splitting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Another thing you people left out is the fact that it is MUCH easier to produce your own electricity than making your own gasoline. So there is no contest between the two technologies as far as which is cleaner and much more efficient.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yogi Zuna, your comment is spot on. It is easy for just about anyone to make their own electricity, and nearly impossible to make their own gasoline.

My house is a certified Passivhaus which also produces far more electricity with our solar PV rooftop than we use on an annual basis. It's far cheaper than a normal house, too.

In my case, an electric car is far cleaner and greener than a normal dirty gasoline powered car.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@strangerland

'burning ethanol only releases water and oxygen"

It mainly releases carbon dioxide and water, plus perhaps some carbon monoxide and other things depending on the burning efficiency and the purity of the ethanol.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

LOL would be surprised that this study was secretly funded by big oil, electric cars will always be less polluting than gas fired engines. the best ones only being 30~35% efficent, and electric motor is over 90% efficent. big oil is starting to sweat as more and more manufacturers turn make hydrogen/electric powered vehicles. and if you have solar cells on the roof of your house charging your car then an electric car is way cleaner than a gas engine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The best solution is to put solar cells on your house and use the electricity they generate to charge your car. This will become more attractive as electricity utilities put up more and more resistance to buying solar power from consumers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What I'd like to see is a car with photovoltaic skin which uses a hybrid bio-diesel power train.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my case, an electric car is far cleaner and greener than a normal dirty gasoline powered car.

Are you charging it using the same electricity you made?

Do you even have an all-electric car?

Cause the thing nagging me is that to get to work in the morning means moving your car really far away from your house. And its in the daytime that your house is actually generating power.

At night you would be drawing from the grid...and night time grid power isn't coming from solar...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The internal combustion engine will not go away"

Probably not for another 50 years or maybe more, until the oil runs out, which it eventually will, being as how it takes thousands of years for the Earth to produce what we're using in a matter of months..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sometimes I wish we would go back to horse and buggy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At night you would be drawing from the grid...and night time grid power isn't coming from solar...

In Japan, houses that produce more solar power than they use can sell it back into the grid. So if they are pulling from the grid, and they have already put into it, then it's essentially the same as using solar.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Again this old debate narrowly focused on CO2 emissions. That is what our French politicians did last 15 years and with strong fiscal measure (high taxes on strong CO2 emissive cars) 80% of sold cars today are diesel. And some big cities like Paris now speak of banning diesel cars from City center because now people have respiratory diseases and die from lung cancer...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sucks to be a Tesla investor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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