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Electric Cars Worse than Gasoline Cars?

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 03:08PM

Here in the US, where the 'green' movement is going strong, many believe electric cars are needed to reduce environmental impact. In China though, electric cars are actually worse for the environment than gasoline cars.

While a gasoline or diesel vehicle is powered by the fuel in its engine, the electric vehicles are powered by plants located away from the vehicle. With 85% of China’s power plants being fossil fuel based, and 90% of those using coal, the use of an electric vehicle still produces particulates dangerous to people and the environment. Ideally a power plant is more efficient and cleaner than an engine, but as researchers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville have found, this is not always the case.

Compared to a gasoline engine, the power plants emit particulate matter at a greater rate, and even though the plants are removed from the populace, these emissions are carried to the people by the wind. The end result is an electric car is no better than a diesel bus, though it is better than a diesel car. An electric bike though has the smallest impact of the different tested, with the gasoline vehicle beneath it.

This study shows one simply cannot assume an electric vehicle is 'greener.' After all, the electricity has to come from somewhere.

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Waco on February 16, 2012 06:58PM
Making the batteries is the worst part. Your average Prius is worse for the environment than a Suburban or Tahoe.
Guest comment
Paul Scott on February 16, 2012 07:54PM
That's a crock! There is zero evidence to support your statement. Only a fool would believe that. The batteries are lithium ion. Lithium is non-toxic. Doctors have been prescribing lithium for depression for decades. People actually ingest it.
Guest_Jim_* on February 16, 2012 08:31PM
He didn't say anything about the lithium itself (which, like all metals, is toxic in large doses), he was talking about making the batteries. The process of making the Prius batteries uses a variety of chemicals, which do damage the environment.
Mikesnow on February 16, 2012 07:14PM
The only thing "Green" about all this eco friendly crap, is the amount of green backs companies make off this stuff. A great way to make money or run a country tho, scare eveyone into thinking the world is ending, then sell em stuff that will save the world. Civilizations have done it forever.
Comp Dude2 on February 17, 2012 01:12AM
"Here in the US, where the 'green' movement is going strong" Hahaha
Guest_Jim_* on February 17, 2012 08:21AM
What I meant was more that here we actually care and are trying to do things about it. China... not so much.
Desktop-pro on February 17, 2012 02:54AM
If your going to trace electricity back to the source you better trace gasoline back as well. Then tell me what one is more enviromentally friendly.
Guest_Jim_* on February 17, 2012 08:20AM
The researchers went back to the actual release of energy from the fuel. For gasoline it is the car engine and for the electric vehicles, it is the power plant; often a dirty coal fired power plant in China. Before that it is the refinery and oil wells for gasoline, and mine for coal. Coal mines are not going to be cleaner than oil wells. Further back gives you plant matter which is obviously environmentally friendly.
Guest comment
GreeniePro on February 17, 2012 06:04PM
Oil is much friendlier, its a natural product of the earth
SilverHairSaint on February 20, 2012 02:32PM
and coal is what then????

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