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Wed Dec 9, 2020, 09:37 PM

Electric Vehicle Myths: #3 EVs Aren't Greener than Gasoline or Diesel-Powered Cars

For those of you who are environmentally conscious, I am going to start a series about electric vehicle myths.

Myth 3: EVs Are Not Greener than Gasoline or Diesel-Powered Cars

Sometimes you can see a totally bogus claim with your eyes. Stopped at any intersection, you can see plumes of exhaust arising from ICE cars, especially those that need a tune-up. From the tailpipe of an EV, what do you see? You canít even see the tailpipe, let alone exhaust, because there isnít any.

Those exhaust plumes from ICE cars are composed of several greenhouse gases that we donít want to add to the atmosphere. Getting the gasoline from the ground into the tank of an ICE car uses more electricity than an EV uses in driving. That is, a gasoline-engine car that is sitting still has used more electricity than an EV will use to drive.

Exploring for oil, pumping it out of the ground, shipping it, and refining it into gasoline and diesel is an energy-intensive process. EVs will continue to get greener as the power grid gets greener. ICE vehicles will remain dirty.

According to the US Energy Information Association, US renewable electricity generation has doubled since 2008. Almost 90 percent of the increase in renewable energy came from wind- and solar-power generation. As of 2018, renewables provided 17.6 percent of electricity generation in the United States. Meanwhile, internal-combustion engines are burning gasoline and diesel fuel and emitting into the atmosphere more than half of the total carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides that humanity releases, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons.

evpubs.com

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Reply Electric Vehicle Myths: #3 EVs Aren't Greener than Gasoline or Diesel-Powered Cars (Original post)
PNW-Dem Dec 2020 OP
Klaralven Dec 2020 #1
PNW-Dem Dec 2020 #3
HeartachesNhangovers Dec 2020 #2

Response to PNW-Dem (Original post)

Wed Dec 9, 2020, 10:08 PM

1. The great majority of energy used for electrical generation is from natural gas, coal and nuclear

 

Nuclear generation provides more CO2 emissions reduction in switching from gas to electric than does the renewables combined.

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Response to Klaralven (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 9, 2020, 11:23 PM

3. Not True, renewables exceed nuclear power generation

EVs will continue to get greener as the power grid gets greener. Internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will remain dirty.

Multiple credible projections conservatively calculate that wind and solar sources will supply almost 50 percent of the total US electricity supply by 2030. About three percent of the total electricity generation is expected to come from offshore installations, up from almost zero today. For solar, more than five percent of total generation could come from small-scale solar installations like those on residential rooftops, which are becoming cheaper and more prevalent. Adding in the contributions of nuclear power plants could bring the total share of US electricity generated by ďzero-carbonĒ sources up from 40 percent, where it is today, to almost 70 percent in 2030. Nuclear is by no means ideal, but it is serving to bridge the gap to a zero-carbon future. The remaining 30 percent would most likely be generated by lower-carbon natural gas.

Thank you for your comment, appreciate the dialog.

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Response to PNW-Dem (Original post)

Wed Dec 9, 2020, 10:50 PM

2. I believe you are correct. The overall lifetime carbon footprint of an electric car

is lower than a gasoline-powered car, even including the effect of power plant emissions, and the emissions from construction of the electric car, including the battery. Here's an analysis from CarbonBrief: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change

However, I wouldn't call any personal vehicle (except a bicycle or other driver-powered vehicle) "green". There's nothing green about the environmental impact of building and fueling any car, electric or otherwise. Also, if someone takes a gasoline car that's 5 years old with less than 100,000 miles - in other words, plenty of life left - and replaces it with an electric car that they drive for 5 years before replacing THAT car, it's possible that the "greener" option would have been to drive the gasoline car for 10 years, because in that case only 1 car is built in 10 years instead of 2 cars.

The only green option is not having a personal vehicle at all. Arguing that a Tesla is greener than a corvette misses that important point. Yes, I know that many, many people don't have public transit options and can't reasonably be expected to bicycle. I also know many people who do have public transit options and just can't see themselves riding the bus, as well as people who replaced a perfectly serviceable car with a Prius or Tesla, and then replaced that car with a newer model a few years later, mostly because they just wanted a brand-new car. They probably thought they were being pretty green.

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