Study: More Emissions Created by Charging Electric Cars Than Fueling Up image

A recent study shows that for most Michiganders charging their electric vehicles could produce more greenhouse-gas emissions than fueling up and driving the most efficient gas-powered hybrids.

The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed how electricity is produced around the U.S., with regions more dependent on coal receiving a lower score.

“Today, in Michigan, our analysis is an electric vehicle is as good as some of the best gas vehicles and some hybrids, and if Michigan continues to invest in renewable energy, it can go from being a ‘good region’ to a ‘best region,’ ” said Don Anair, one of the researchers.

The researchers say that in Michigan 70% of electricity is produced by coal-burning power plants, so a plug-in electric vehicle affects the environment the same as a car that gets 38 m.p.g. The study tries to make people aware of the fact that even if it is an electric vehicle, emissions are associated with charging it.

Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for the new vehicle research and pricing site TrueCar.com says that this study will not affect consumer behavior and that buying an electric vehicle now could help the environment in the long run by helping drive down the costs of the cleaner vehicles through higher demand.

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    But the report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS, finds that the advantages vary widely depending upon where you live. In the best regions, savings on energy can add up to more than $1,000 annually – with battery cars cleaner than anything else on the road. But even in the worst regions, those heavily dependent upon coal to generate electricity, the UCS report says battery vehicles retain a significant advantage over traditional automotive powertrain technology.

    “No matter where you live in the United States, electric vehicles are good choice for reducing global warming emissions and saving money on fueling up,” said Don Anair, the report’s author and senior engineer for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program.