Electric Cars Aren't So Dirty, Coal Power at 35-year Low

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

Electric vehicles aren’t rollin’ coal anymore — or, at least, not nearly as much as they used to.

Reuters reports coal-fired electricity generation is now at a 35-year low in the U.S., and November 2015 was the fifth month in a row more natural gas than coal was used to produce electricity.

That’s not all. From Reuters:

With just one month of data missing in 2015, some analysts think power companies may have burned more gas than coal for the full year for the first time in history.

Oh, and guess what’s dirtier than natural gas when burned? You bet: gasoline.

The news comes as more and more SUVs and crossovers are making their way to private driveways and plug-in electric vehicles fall out of favor due to low gasoline prices.

Crude oil prices are currently hovering between $30 and $35 per barrel, resulting in sub-$2/gallon gasoline at the pumps.

Meanwhile, sales volume for the Nissan Leaf was nearly halved in 2015. Nissan sold 30,200 Leafs (Leaves?) in 2014. That number dropped to 17,269 units last year.

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Feb 01, 2016

    Coal wasn't considered "dirty" until Al Gore invented man-made global warming, and sold it to millions of low information voters.

    • See 3 previous
    • VoGo VoGo on Feb 02, 2016

      @Master Baiter As it turns out, enrolling at an accredited university program in environmental studies and completing that program is a great way to earn an advanced degree in environmental studies. Flying to China often is a great way to earn frequent flyer miles. I know this may be confusing, but having frequent flyer miles does NOT equate to expertise in the science of the environment. At the same time, you may have noticed that a lot of people in the Southeast of the US eat grits. Also, the air is relatively clean in the Southeast. However, that does not directly prove that eating grits will clean the air. Correlation and causality are different.

  • Redapple Redapple on Feb 02, 2016

    BRANDLOYATY Sounds like beerhall talk. Where is a link to proof that typical US coal plants are 98% cleaner than 30 years ago? OK- THEY ARE JUST AS DIRTY NOW AS THEY WERE 30-40 YEARS AGO. Bird choppers? Do just a tiny bit of research into what kills birds. WHATEVER. WINDMILLS ARE GREAT. LOVE THAT 35-45 CENT/KwH POWER. Also do some research about awareness in China of pollution and what they’re doing about it. The US is going to suffer further from a negative trade balance with China while China surges forward in this field while the US lags behind developing sustainable energy technology – partly because so many Americans believe in nonsense on the subject. Hollowing out the economy because Americans are willing to do so for cheap clothing and trinkets is one thing, but falling behind in energy technology will be even worse. YOU REALLY BELIEVE CHINA IS THE WORLD LEADER NOW IN GREEN TECHNOLOGY? AND WILL BE IN THE FUTURE? REALLY? MAN - I M GLAD I M NOT YOUR KID OR A KID IN YOUR CLASS.

    • See 3 previous
    • CJinSD CJinSD on Feb 02, 2016

      @Drzhivago138 Your inability to draw logical conclusions does nothing to diminish my argument.

  • Kyree Kyree on Feb 02, 2016

    I really don't understand the people who go out and buy big cars *because* gas is cheap. To me, cheap gas says "How far can I get on $5?" Not, "That new Yukon Denali with the 6.2-liter looks really nice today..."

    • Bball40dtw Bball40dtw on Feb 02, 2016

      This is the time to buy a small/efficient car. hit 'em where they ain't! I am waiting for gas to go up to buy a Navigator.

  • Carlisimo Carlisimo on Feb 02, 2016

    "Meanwhile, sales volume for the Nissan Leaf was nearly halved in 2015. Nissan sold 30,200 Leafs (Leaves?) in 2014. That number dropped to 17,269 units last year." That's not surprising. The Leaf comes from back when Nissan's interiors were terrible. Cars are getting nicer pretty quickly - an interior that was just barely tolerable in 2014 is pathetic now. And the e-Golf went on sale in the 2015 model year, didn't it? My wife wants a Leaf, but not until they update the interior.

    • See 1 previous
    • JPWhite JPWhite on Feb 02, 2016

      @SCE to AUX Agreed. I would add to your list of the LEAF's suffering as follows 5. Too little too late. Other EV's such as the BMW i3 are adding 50% more range this summer compared to the LEAF's 27% increase in the 2016 model. 6. B-Team engineering. 30kWh models in Europe have a temporary stop sale due to the new EVConnect being worse than Carwings it replaces. (causing frequent head-unit reboots). They have lost their way after such a great start.