Completely replacing gasoline vehicles with plug-in hybrids would dramatically improve the air quality in Denver, Colo., a large urban area with 1.7 million vehicles, according to a study published in the most recent volume of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.
Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colo. authored the study.
The study showed that 100 percent PHEV penetration in the Denver area would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by a net total of 24 tons per day. Researchers also found that completely replacing Denver’s gas-only fleet with plug-in hybrids would substantially cut VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions.
The study assumed that natural gas provided most of the electricity for charging PHEVs. Presumably the emissions gains the researchers predict would be higher – perhaps dramatically so – if, instead of natural gas, renewable energy forms such as solar and wind were assumed to provide most of the electricity for the PHEVs.
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