UM study fac­tors EV pro­duc­tion into over­all green­ness

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY RUSS MITCHELL Los An­ge­les Times

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles may be zero-emis­sion at the tailpipe, but the rel­a­tive filth of the elec­tric pro­duc­tion they draw from has a big ef­fect on just how green an elec­tric car can be.

For ex­am­ple, for an elec­tric car in the United States, the equiv­a­lent is 55.4 miles per gal­lon — that is, any gaso­line car with that mileage or higher is as good or bet­ter than an elec­tric ve­hi­cle for green­house gas re­duc­tion, ac­cord­ing to a new study. That’s be­cause more than a third of elec­tric gen­er­a­tion comes from the most green­house-dirty source, coal.

In France, an elec­tric car con­trib­utes green­house gases equiv­a­lent to a gaso­line-pow­ered car that gets 524.6 miles per gal­lon. That’s be­cause nu­clear power is France’s main elec­tric en­ergy source, and nu­clear power is rel­a­tively clean, at least where green­house gases are con­cerned.

The rank­ings come from a study by Sus­tain­able World- wide Trans­porta­tion at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan. The study didn’t look at in­di­vid­ual U.S. states. Coun­tries that rely mainly on hy­dropower scored best. One is Al­ba­nia, with a 5,100 mpg equiv­a­lent. Swe­den, Nor­way and the Congo also scored well.

The worst per­form­ers, be­cause they rely al­most ex­clu­sively on coal and oil for elec­tric­ity, in­clude Botswana, Eritrea and Kosovo.

Miles Wil­lis / Getty Images

In the United States, a gaso­line car that gets 55.4 mpg is as good or bet­ter than an EV for green­house gas re­duc­tion, ac­cord­ing to the study.

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