PHEVs' Dirty Little Secret

phevs dirty little secret

According to USA Today, plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) like the Chevy Volt can actually increase air pollution in some areas. The executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center reckons "plug-in hybrids are perhaps not good for all areas." Howard Learner explained that for "states that are heavily coal, that equation doesn't work out very well for the environment." With almost half of the nation's electricity coming from coal-fired plants, the Center equates running a PHEV in some areas to driving a coal-burning vehicle. The Natural Resources Defense Council said there's a "possibility for significant increases of soot and mercury" because of the increased demand on the plants, So a PHEV would produce 11 percent more greenhouse gas than a non-plug-in hybrid. A study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found PHEVs could also increase the amount of sulfur dioxide, a key component of acid rain, and CO2. Charles Griffith of the Ecology Center in Michigan admits "It seems a little premature to think of it being a problem – but there are a lot of issues we should have been thinking of sooner," including the use of land to grow crops for ethanol fuel vs. for food. Since when does rational thinking have anything to do with federal regulations, the environment and energy independence?

Comments
Join the conversation
4 of 30 comments
  • Kevin Kevin on Feb 26, 2008

    Ha, reading this thread makes it obvious yet again why progress and change is so hard. For every good idea there are legions of naysayers who are afraid of the change or who have convinced themselves that they are well informed enough to be making critical judgments (wrong, 99% of the time). And you wonder why politicians don't rush through programs to support your own pet idea...

  • Engineer Engineer on Feb 26, 2008
    Since when does rational thinking have anything to do with federal regulations, the environment and energy independence? What a sad and true statement that is. A lot of the blame, I think, should go to the greens, many of whom seem to be motivated by anti-everything hysteria. I am all for cleaning up the environment and doing things more efficiently. But when you are bent on destroying the evil Big Oil, you should at least have a viable alternative, one that is developed enough for immediate implementation. Even worse is when some of these people sanctimoniously declare that earth can support only 2 billion people (how do you even calculate that?), implying genocide for the remaining 4.5 billion (70% of the population) while being careful not to explain it in so many words. In short: To be relevant the green movement needs more technical know-how and less activism. Put up a solution, or shut up.

  • Donal Fagan Donal Fagan on Feb 26, 2008

    Engineer: A lot of the blame, I think, should go to the greens, ... That's kind of like blaming the lookouts for seeing the approaching privateers. "Blast you, Blakeney! I was having the most fantastic dream about Lord Nelson!"

  • Engineer Engineer on Feb 27, 2008
    That’s kind of like blaming the lookouts for seeing the approaching privateers. “Blast you, Blakeney! I was having the most fantastic dream about Lord Nelson!” I know. I am a bit hard on the greens. That said, somebody has to develop the technical know-how to make green dreams come true. If the greens won't do it themselves, they risk being overtaken by someone else...

Next