The Coal-Powered Secret of Some Electric Cars
Coal-powered states make it dirty to 'em power up
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2012 3:21 PM CDT
A man demonstrates the recharging of an electric car battery as he plugs in a Kangoo Renault electric car at a charging point at the EVER exhibition in Monaco, Thursday, March 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

(Newser) – Your electric car (or the one you dream of having) is greener than your neighbor's gas guzzler—right? Well, scientists now say it depends on where you live, the New York Times reports. For people in states that use natural gas, nuclear power, or hydroelectric power to fire up the electric grid, the answer is yes—because powering up the car battery doesn't send greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For coal-burning states, the news is not so good.

In fact, electric car drivers across a wide swath of middle states will send more global warming emissions into the air than someone who has a top gasoline-engine subcompact. Put another way, only about 45% of Americans live in states where an electric vehicle will "out-green" a gas-driven car with 50 mpg combined city-highway driving. (See a full state-by-state map here.) Despite the bad news, authors of the new report are pressuring car-makers to "deliver viable alternatives to the oil-fueled internal-combustion engine—ie, vehicles boasting zero or near-zero emissions.”

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Showing 3 of 53 comments
Apr 16, 2012 5:01 PM CDT
What if I power my electric car with the solar panels on my roof?
Apr 15, 2012 7:58 PM CDT
IC engine efficiency depends on Compression Ratio and subsequent Brake Specific Fuel Consumption Diesel engines @ CR 20 are twice as efficient as a gasoline engines or @40% (Wikipedia BSFC to see) In mass production of cheap die cast gas engines, in order to "Pull the Die" cylinders are only supported by ribbing rather than "planking" across tops of cylinders. Consequentially stock engines are CR limited or there'd be blown head gasket problems when cylinders move about due to higher pressures. So your so- called stock car Toyotas & Hondas have planks welded onto their engine blocks under the heads, so it ain't that stock is it? But with CR's below 10, low octane gas can be burned w/o detonation and you can extract more low octane fuel from a now 42gal barrel of oil- (55 gal barrels went away about time 1lb coffee can did) so suppliers can claim they have more barrels of oil in reserve & coffee mfr's can make more money on less In short, world abounds in LIES and it has ever since JFK was shot 3 or 4X w/a BOLT ACTION rifle? Sure
Apr 15, 2012 7:43 PM CDT
if this is a is kept from only those who refuse to acknowledge it