Purchasing an electric car is green if you live in certain areas in the United States while other buyers could actually be causing more problems for the environment.
In a recent study reported in the New York Times electric cars are better for the environment when they are powered in states that rely heavily on natural gas, nuclear power and hydroelectric power grids. Those states are considered more EPA friendly for electric vehicles because they don’t send greenhouse gases into the air based on the type of power consumption they rely on for electricity needs.
On the other hand coal producing states require more coal consumption which is less safe for the environment and could in fact be causing more emissions than traditional fuel based vehicles.
The study has found that only 45% of Americans live in areas where their electric vehicle can “out-green” a gas-drive vehicle that receives 50 mpg when combined with city-highway driving.
While the study draws a semi-bleak outlook for green vehicles the authors have found good reason to pressure car-markers into delivering “viable alternatives to the oil-fueled internal-combustion engine—ie, vehicles boasting zero or near-zero emissions.”
Breaking down the report further The Times writes:
“Here’s another way to look at it: if one region were completely dependent on coal for power, its electric cars would be responsible for full-cycle global-warming emissions equivalent to a car capable of 30 m.p.g. in mixed driving.”
Electric and hybrid power vehicles are still in their infancy and continue to develop better technologies which should wide the gap between gas and electric powered vehicles in the future.
In the meantime another recent study found that it can take up to 10 years to earn back your money in gas savings for an electric or hybrid vehicle because of the higher cost associated with purchasing those vehicles.