gas-vs-ev-exhaustPictures often provide stark contrasts that help us see the world in a different light.

Such is the case with the photo above, which shows the contrast between the air pollution spewing out of an old Toyota gasoline car and the complete absence of local emissions coming from a Renault Fluence ZE EV.

Yes, the EV’s batteries may have been charged with electricity produced by coal. But that’s nonetheless a different type of air pollution, as the emissions from a coal plant smokestack are streamed high into the sky while auto emissions are puffed directly into our faces and lungs.

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Smokestack vs. tailpipe?
Coal smokestacks can also be equipped with scrubbers and other technologies to reduce emissions, and this can be done in a centralized place. That’s not true of gasoline cars and their emissions. Many autos are not properly maintained by their owners and they end up puffing toxic fumes directly into our lungs as we drive, or bike, or walk.

Finally, coal isn’t necessarily the source of the electricity pumped into an EV’s batteries. Cleaner burning natural gas may have produced the electricity. It may have been nuclear power, or, ideally, the electricity powering this EV, or yours, forward may have been produced by any number of different renewable energy sources, including wind, geothermal, hydro, and, of course, solar.

That’s not something we’ll ever be able to say about gasoline cars. And that’s why EVs represent such tremendous potential to improve the air we breathe as well as, more generally speaking, the world in which we live.

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