Being environmentally conscious is not as easy as we all think. We have been told for years that relying on oil to power our cars is bad for the environment, but that is not necessarily true. A recent study by University of Minnesota professors shows that the environmental impact of all electric cars is not what it we think it is. Sure, electric cars have no emissions from their non existent tail pipes, but the power plants that supply that electricity to energize them sure do and it is far more harmful than you might think. A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune article talks about how coal power is still a common source of electricity that supplies the chargers used by electric cars in the United States and many countries worldwide. An electric car that is charged from coal power plants will cause four times more deaths from soot and smog than a gasoline powered vehicle. Although when you find a cleaner power grid such as natural gas, water, wind or solar to charge an electric car, the environmental impact does skew in the electric car’s favor. The key here is to find out where your electricity comes from. In Minnesota and the surrounding states, coal is the primary source used to generate power.
Some of the alternatives to gas or electric vehicles might not be friendly either. People often think ethanol is friendly for the environment since it is made of corn. It can actually be worse than gas or electric generated from coal when you take to account that is has to be farmed, refined and the tail pipe emissions are also not as good as gas or diesel. When shopping for a vehicle that is environmentally friendly find the most fuel efficient vehicle that is powered by gasoline or diesel. If you really want that electric car do some research on how your power is produced.
Watch this video for some more info on the subject.