Zero-Emissions Vehicles Are Actually Not So Great For The Environment After All...

One of the supposed benefits of electric cars is that they do not produce any emissions. That's true, but the unsaid thing about these cars is that they still require a power source, and those sources are often run by fossil fuels anyways.

A study by Jonathan Lesser of the Manhattan Institute revealed that the emissions from power plants will outpace emissions from standard internal combustion engines by 2050.

"Zero-emission vehicles are only as clean as the electric power sources they plug into. Given the electricity fuel mix reasonably projected by the Energy Information Administration between now and 2050, both nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from the power plants supplying zero-emission vehicles will exceed the emissions from new internal combustion vehicles."

He also found that if these vehicles were all powered by renewable sources of energy, the effect would be too small to make any noticeable change in global temperatures. Hence, there being no economic value to so heavily-emphasizing these types of vehicles.

On the other hand, the subsidy cost of these initiatives is very expensive. Taxpayers feel the burden of that very deeply, but without much return. Should we be putting so much money into something that may only make the alleged problem worse?

That doesn't make sense to me...

Comments (1)
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FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

It's a question of amortization, and hopefully of future gains. If an electric car requires more energy (and thus emissions to manufacture) it needs to make up those debits on the back-end by creating less emissions during it's life span. The quote "A study by Jonathan Lesser of the Manhattan Institute revealed that the emissions from power plants will outpace emissions from standard internal combustion engines by 2050" is disingenuous, since the anticipated outcome is that 30 years downstream the won't BE many internal combustion engines, new or otherwise. It makes the question "If it's a wash then why not go with gas because it's simpler?" sound reasonable. On the face of it is, but it ignores the fact that companies also spend money on R&D. While much has been, and will likely be, accomplished with internal combustion in the next thirty years it does't compare to the potential that's to be seen with electricity. New battery technology is right over the horizon, and that alone will make a huge difference in how electricity is stored and distributed. Never mind advances in generation from renewable resources and the economy of scale that will begin to develop. So yeah, maybe it's a wash for you and me (and only maybe), but we're not the be all end all and I'd like the next generation to at least have some hope.

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