Actually, Electric Cars Are Good for the Planet

Slate's Will Oremus does what most headline writers didn't bother to do: he actually talked to Joseph F. DeCarolis, the co-author of the paper on electric car emissions.

Published: 28-Jan-2014

Here’s a news flash, courtesy of tech blog the Verge: “Electric cars won’t save the planet.”

The argument, based on a policy analysis from a civil engineering professor at North Carolina State University, hinges on two points.

First, passenger vehicles account for only about 20 percent of U.S. emissions today. So even if they all ran on fairy dust, we’d still be polluting the air in plenty of other ways. And second, electric cars don’t run on fairy dust: Most of them run on power from the U.S. electricity grid, a lot of which comes from burning coal and natural gas (for now, anyway).

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