Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

where electric vehicles actually cause more pollution than petrol vehicles (in the USA)

Posted On Thursday, 8 October 2015

The idea that petrol cars might cause less environmental harm than electric vehicles (EV) seems impossibly backwards, however it is not always the case.







A view from the tailpipe gives EVs a clear edge: no emissions, no pollution, no problem. Shift the view to that of a smokestack, though, and we get a much different picture. The EV that caused no environmental damage on the road during the day still needs to be charged at night. This requires a great deal of electricity generated by a power plant somewhere, and if that power plant runs on coal, it’s not hard to imagine it spewing more emissions from a smokestack than a comparable gas car coughed up from a tailpipe.

In oversimplified terms, the researchers determined the emissions produced by gasoline car tailpipes and the emissions produced by electricity grids that power EVs for every U.S. county. The researchers focused on five major pollutants: carbon (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen (NOx), particulate matter (PM 2.5), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They considered 11 different 2014 models of EVs, as well as the “closest substitute” gas car.

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