“It’s kind of hard to beat gasoline” for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. “A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean … are not better than gasoline.”
The key is where the source of the electricity all-electric cars. If it comes from coal, the electric cars produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gas, because of the pollution made in generating the electricity, according to the study that is published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They also are significantly worse at heat-trapping carbon dioxide that worsens global warming, it found.
So pretty, yet so deadly
The study finds all-electric vehicles cause 86 percent more deaths from air pollution than do cars powered by regular gasoline. Coal produces 39 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the Department of Energy.
But if the power supply comes from natural gas, the all-electric car produces half as many air pollution health problems as gas-powered cars do. And if the power comes from wind, water or wave energy, it produces about one-quarter of the air pollution deaths.
Simple. Just call up your power company and order some wave energy. Or go to the ocean yourself and fill a bucket with it.
Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas.
But ethanol isn’t, with 80 percent more air pollution mortality, according to the study.
“If we’re using ethanol for environmental benefits, for air quality and climate change, we’re going down the wrong path,” Hill said.
We’re using ethanol to win the Iowa caucuses. And drive up the price of corn for starving people around the world.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go burn some of that $2.83 gas in my tank so I can fill up on that $2.71 while it lasts.