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Electric Cars in China May Be Worse for the Environment Than Gas-Powered Cars

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By Doug Powers  •  February 13, 2012 04:21 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

This just in from our “news Al Gore won’t be talking about” bureau:

It’s a line the American public has been hearing for a while—switch to an electric car and save the environment. But in China, where there are more than 100 million electrically-powered scooters and cars, alternatively-powered vehicles may be worse for the environment than gasoline-powered vehicles, according to a report released Monday by a team from the University of Tennessee.

The problem in China comes from the way most electricity is generated — more than 75 percent of power in China is generated by coal. So, rather than look at vehicle-emissions alone, where electric cars easily beat gas- and diesel-powered cars, the researchers studied the environmental impact of the whole power chain.

“An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles,” Chris Cherry, one of the University of Tennessee researchers, explains. “Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to.”

In the United States, some 50% of our electricity comes from coal. Not as much as China but still a hefty amount that should be factored into the “green” equation but often isn’t.

I was about to say I’d rather cut out the battery middle-man and have my car directly powered by coal… that way I could grill while driving. However, on the Volt, because the car was so ahead of its time, that feature came standard. They thought of everything.

More here.

**Written by Doug Powers

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