Are Electric Cars Worse for the Planet?

Not content to upset the recyclers in the community (See: Is Recycling Bullshit), I’m moving on to electric cars today.  Rob at Say Anything Blog had an interesting post the other day citing a report from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville that talks about how electric cars might be worse for the environment than their gas guzzling counterparts.

To summarize the report, electric cars seem to be more hazardous to the environment because a majority of the electricity that they consume is created in fossil fuel burning electric plants.  Rob points out that the study was done in China where a very large proportion of electricity is produced by coal powered plants, and that a smaller proportion is produced that way in the Unites States, but that the proportion still isn’t small enough to negate the negative effects of the increased pollution from production.

Wind farm and greenhouse gas farm, together I think this is another case where the technology just isn’t advanced enough to support the new initiatives.  Cleaner electricity production would, obviously, help the situation, but many of the clean energy production methods just aren’t mature enough to support themselves, let alone a growing fleet of electric cars.

Combine that information with the added expenses in maintenance of an electric car, and they begin to look downright unattractive.  Not to mention that they have yet to create an electric car that is capable of reproducing the power that is needed for them to become mainstream in smaller cities and rural areas.

What do you think?  Are electric cars an already dying breed?  Should we continue to support them in hopes that electricity production technology catches up eventually?

photo credit: kevin dooley

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