Electric Vehicle “Coal Car” Myth Debunked

By: | May 19th, 2016

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (Image Courtesy www.japantimes.co.jp)

A recent political football in Minnesota over a $2,500 rebate offered to Minnesotans who purchase electric vehicles pits the Great Plains Institute (GPI) and EV advocates who support the measure against the Freedom Foundation and Republican politicians who argue electric vehicles are “powerplant” powered. This argument suggests that since electric vehicle batteries charged in Minnesota are almost entirely charged by coal plants in the Midwest which pollute the air, the supposed environmental benefits of electric vehicles is tenuous.

But a new “life-cycle” report by GPI suggests that this analysis by Republicans and fossil fuel industry advocates is flawed. According to GPI:

Gasoline cars emit an average of 465 grams of greenhouse gases per mile in Minnesota, a total that includes energy consumed during the extraction and refining process. Electric vehicles emit only 183 grams of GHGs per mile….”

The argument against EVs doesn’t take into account the growing renewable energy mix in states including Minnesota, meaning that over time, fewer and fewer electric vehicles will be charged by fossil fuel energy sources and more and more by renewable energy sources.

The following video is an introduction to the Great Plains Institute whose mission is to transform the way the US produces, distributes, and consumes energy so that they are more environmentally and economically sustainable by being cleaner, more efficient, and secure.

David Russell Schilling

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