Powering cars on clean electricity produced by wind and solar would virtually eliminate vehicle-related air pollution – whether from the tailpipe or the power plant, according to a white paper released today (Jan. 20) by the advocacy group Environment Texas.
Plug-in Cars: Powering America Toward a Cleaner Future answers many questions about plug-in vehicles and lays out a strategy for how to increase the number of EVs on the road. It highlights data from existing research to show that electric cars can help to improve Americans’ standard of living.
“With more Americans focused on the environmental and economic consequences of our oil dependence, carmakers are scrambling to offer customers the cleanest, most fuel efficient cars”, said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “Dramatically ramping up electric vehicles can bolster America’s efforts to wean ourselves off of oil and to reduce pollution that causes global warming.”
America’s current fleet of gasoline-powered cars and trucks leaves America dependent on oil, contributes to air pollution problems that threaten Americans’ health, and produces large amounts of global warming pollution, concludes Environment Texas.
Plug-in vehicles also have the potential to make an immediate difference in reducing air pollution and curbing dependence on oil. Over the long term, plug-ins can play a critical role in the effort to stop global warming.
Some other interesting findings from the report:
More than 40 recent studies show that plug-in cars produce lower carbon dioxide than traditional gasoline-powered cars. One study by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) found that an electric car fueled by unused capacity in the current electric system would emit 27 percent less global warming pollution than a car fueled by gasoline, and would reduce global warming pollution in almost every area of the country, even where the primary source of electricity is coal.
Powering a car on electricity would result in 93 percent less smog-forming volatile organic compounds and 31 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions than powering a car on gasoline. An electric car fueled by unused capacity in the current electric system would emit 27 percent less global warming pollution than a car fueled by gasoline.
A study by the University of California, Berkeley Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology showed that if half of the light vehicles in the United States were electric vehicles powered by completely clean electricity in 2030, total fleet emissions would be reduced by 62 percent.
A study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that America’s electric system could fuel 73 percent of U.S. cars, pickup-up trucks, SUVs and vans without building another power plant, by charging vehicles at night.
With investments in “smart grid” technology, plug-in cars could help stabilize the electric grid and provide emergency backup power – reducing the cost of electricity for all consumers and making the grid better able to accommodate intermittent forms of renewable energy generation such as wind and solar power.
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