Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 1 decade ago

wouldnt plug in electric cars help contribue to global warming?

it makes sense because we get our electricity mostly from burning fossil fuels so pluging an electric car in only fules this so called man made global warming.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    If by "help contribute" you mean continue to cause greenhouse gas emissions, then yes. If you mean by not decreasing our greenhouse gas emissions from their current level, then no.

    Even with the USA's current power grid mix, EVs would dramatically decrease our greenhouse gas emissions due to the efficiency of large power plants and electric engines. Electric motors are about 90% efficient, 2-4 times more efficient than internal combustion engines.

    ICE = gasoline car (internal combustion engine)

    HEV = hybrid gas-electric car (uses gasoline to recharge batteries)

    EV = electric vehicle (plugs in to recharge batteries)

    "EVs reduce CO2 by 11%-100% compared with ICEs and by 24%-65% compared with HEVs, and significantly reduce all other greenhouse gas emissions, using the U.S. grid mix. If all U.S. cars were EVs, we’d reduce global warming emissions even on today’s mostly coal grid. Using electricity strictly from coal, EVs still would reduce CO2 by 0%-59% compared with ICEs (two analyses found 0% change; seven others found reductions of 17%-59%) and might produce 30%-49% more CO2 than HEVs (based on only two analyses) on today’s grid. On the other hand, if electricity comes from solar or wind power, EVs eliminate all emissions. Using natural gas to make electricity, emissions fall in between those from coal and renewable power."

  • 1 decade ago

    Plug-in electric cars would be a big step in the right direction. Here's why.

    It's true that the power for plug-in hybrid electric vechicles (PHEV's) ultimately comes from the power grid, which burns coal (and some hydrocarbons) to run, which produces carbon dioxide. But the amount of CO2 produced by the grid is significantly smaller than the amount of CO2 produced by a gasoline engine at the same power level.

    That's because an internal-combustion gasoline engine is hugely inefficient, about 25% tops. But large gas turbines, such as those used in powerplants, are about 60% efficient. That power is transmitted to an electric motor in your PHEV, which is 90% efficient. Further, a significant fraction of the energy on the grid comes from sources that produce no greenhouse gases at all: hydro, wind, and nuclear.

    The bottom line is that a PHEV drawing its power from the grid would emit 2/3 less CO2 than an equivalent gasoline powered vehicle, according to a recent report by the Electric Power Research Institute. That's a huge, huge savings.

  • Ben O
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    There would probably be a reduction in carbon cost to using a plug in car even though burning coal produces a lot of CO2. There are 2 reasons:

    1. Public utility power generation plants are more efficient than auto gasoline engines (around 45% efficient for a coal fired plant compared to 25% for an auto gasoline engine)

    2. Electric cars usually have regenerative breaking which saves fuel when driving in stop/start conditions.

    The exact reduction in carbon cost would depend on how much stop start driving was involved.

  • 1 decade ago

    As alternative electrical energy sources become more popular (solar, hydro, wind, nuclear), electrically powered cars would greatly reduce our pollution that we generate. Besides, it is much cheaper and more efficient anyways to burn coal and charge an electric car than to burn gasoline... the coal power plants power electric cars with much less pollution than gas engines.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, if the power is from a nuclear plant. We will be back to square one if its from a coal fired plant. The best is solar or wind powered which would be ideal.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes everything will contribute to global warming mostly street lights but nobody seems to want to turn them off.

  • 1 decade ago

    You are correct. "Plug-in" cars only move the pollution down to the riverside or where-ever the power station is located.

    There is no net reduction in fuel usage. There is a net increase in electric power plant pollution.

    Ergo, "plug-in" cars are a red herring.

    The ONLY solution is to develop a truly alternative fuel, which BTW, is NOT ethanol. _That_ destroys food crops. Nor is it Hydrogen. _That_ costs more energy to make than it can deliver and guess what natural resource is used to produce that hydrogen? NATURAL GAS --a fossil fuel---

    Sure, water can be electrolyzed to produce hydrogen, but the energy cost to crack water is greater than the energy that the hydrogen produces when used as fuel.

    Guess where _that_ energy comes from......

    RIGHT..power plants which burn

    fossil fuel

    So, all this "green" movement is no more than flummery which will sooner than later deprive you of more money via taxes and more of what freedoms you have left.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, it would not increase it. It may not reduce it, but it will definitely not increase it. And it COULD reduce it, because electric cars are more energy efficient than gasoline cars.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.