Could Your Electric Vehicle Be Worse For The Environment than A Gas Car?

Electric Vehicle
Are electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S saviors or environmental menaces?

A new study says EVs may not be as green as we think

It seems like a no-brainer; an electric vehicle is better for the environment than its gasoline burning cousin. But a new report shows that when you charge the battery for your EV, if the electricity used to provide the charge is fueled by a coal plant, you could be causing more environmental harm.

The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that paradoxically, what many think of as an eco-conscious choice is actually contributing to global warming.

ABC news said the “key is where the source of the electricity all-electric cars” and that if the electricity plant is run on coal, “the electric cars produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gas.”

But how many of us know how the electricity we use is produced?

Actually, the ABC report added, “states with the highest percentage of electricity coming from coal, according to the Department of Energy, are West Virginia, Wyoming, Ohio, North Dakota, and Illinois.”

It’s not all grim news

It turns out that hybrid vehicles recapture energy normally lost during braking or coasting to boost their fuel efficiency, may be a better eco choice. And as more electric plants are run on natural gas, wind, solar or hydro power, the environmental cost of EVs will decrease.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell