Do Electric Cars Really Reduce Dependence on Fossil Fuels?

At the Obama administration’s bidding, the Department of Energy recently gave 43 billion taxpayer dollars to fund research into better electric car batteries (most notably for the Chevy Volt). The government-subsidized Volt had been the rightful butt of many jokes in 2011 when faulty battery technology caused many models to catch on fire. (This was a case of a bad idea literally going up in flames. But hey, if we run out of fossil fuels, we can always burn Chevy Volts, right?) As has been the case since the beginning of time, the government doesn’t have to quit when their social crusades fail to return the promised results. They just keep throwing money at them hoping for a different outcome. (Insanity much?)

Environmentalists love the idea of electric cars, which they think are somehow going to reduce our “carbon footprint.” The real question is, “Can electric cars actually lessen our dependence on fossil fuels?”

What people don’t seem to understand is that we must generate electricity from some other power source. We haven’t learned to bottle lightning yet, I don’t think. This means that the electricity used in an electric car must be generated by a power plant of some kind. Fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) were used to generate 71% of electricity in the United States in 2008. In that same year, only 8% of electricity in the U.S. was generated through renewable sources (hydro, solar, wind, etc.) with most of the rest being produced by nuclear power plants (environmentalists just love those). The average thermal efficiency of a fossil-fuel power plant is 33%. This means that only a third of the potential energy stored in fossil fuels goes to actually moving turbines. The efficiency of most internal combustion engines is pretty poor—it averages 17–21% “power on the road” if you can trust government research. The same government statistics gush over the electric car’s 59–62% efficiency.  But wait just a second. 92% of the energy used by that electric car will be produced by fossil fuel, or nuclear, power plants (both on the environmentalists’ naughty list). Do the math:

So, let’s say 1 gallon of gas has the potential energy of 1 widget of work. Burn that 1 gallon at a fossil fuel plant and you produce enough electricity to do 1/3 widget of work. Use that electricity in an electric car and it is able to use, at best, 62% (according to enthusiastic advocates of the electric car, mind you) of that 1/3. That means 21% efficiency on its best day. This means that gallon for gallon, electric cars are not more fuel-efficient to the extent that power plants are still burning fossil fuels to power them. You don’t start to see a lessening of dependence on fossil fuels until you can transition power plants away from fossil fuels. In fact, since only 8% of electric power was being produced through renewable sources in 2008, the actual advantage to having electric cars right now is basically negligible as it relates to our environmental footprint, especially considering that those toxic batteries are not exactly made of daisy chains and patchouli.

But notice, I’ve been talking about fully electric cars this whole time. That snooty treehugger in his Toyota Pious is not driving a fully electric car. He is driving a hybrid. That means he is using fossil fuels at the power plant and in his car. Since hybrid cars are only about twice as fuel-efficient as conventionally powered ones of the same size, this sophomoric environmental “scientist” is actually not reducing fossil fuel usage at all. In fact, his hybrid engine is actually less fossil fuel efficient (in the long haul) than a conventional one because of our current dependence on fossil fuel power plants. Snap! If environmentalists really cared about the environment, they would stop driving hybrid cars for now, and buy the most efficient conventionally powered cars they could find while they search for more practical ways to create “clean” electricity. For now, they aren’t actually doing any good. Ironic, isn’t it? It’s nothing more than the liberal way: pretend to see the big picture when all you really care about is your self-image. After all, it’s so much easier to look like a good guy than it is to actually be one.

0 responses

  1. When you really get down to it, “green cars” are not green at all. They are actually worse for the environment than cars with an internal combustion engine.

    • Can you supply proof for this? Or are you just saying it? I agree that until we change the plants that use coal – where all the energy is derived from – they are still much better for the environment than using fossil fuels… much better…

      • the author did say “if you can trust government research”,look it up yourself.the truth is as he said,for all the hype electric cars still have to be charged up & where do you think the electricity comes from?the fact is if we burn coal or fossil fuel our methods are much cleaner than the rest of the world.if we ship our coal to china their plants will be pumping out more pollution than ours & what happens to their pollution?it gets blown right over here by the wind just like japans earthquake debris.there’s your proof,the tree huggers need to wake up.

      • I work at a local fire department, and these “green” cars are extremely dangerous if involved in an accident. If someone were trapped in an over-turned vehicle, the firemen/rescuers risk fatal injuries in extrication. They have to read up on EVERY kind of “green” car to locate various mechanisms that could spark an electrical fire. Combined with the hazardous material used in manufacturing the battery, and the release of poisonous gases into the air, this whole idea of “green cars” is detrimental to the environment AND human life.

      • john, take the time to study their impact and then retract your statement,
        get on the truth wagon and crusade for a better world.

        • gramps, perhaps you should do a bit more research on the amount of electricity used to power these cars, figure out how much coal or natural gas, seeing as how those are the only two methods of generating electricity you believe in, is needed to generate that much power. Also, while you are at it, check to see what the total emission package is from that coal or natural gas and compare that to the emissions from a standard gasoline engine of the same power rating. I think you will find that the standard engine is far worse than the fixed station generators.

    • Add to this the fact that it takes more than 1 gal of gasoline energy to produce 1 gal of ethanol energy. This makes it even more inneficient. To a liberalprogressivecommunistleftist as long as they feel good about it, it’s right. Results and facts do not matter. Just look at education and the war on poverty. Keep throwing money at it, even though that has produced negative results, but they feel good about it. I think I’ll wear a ribbon for this just to show how much I care.

        • And it causes the gas to go bad faster if you don’t drive your vehicle regularly (like leaving a boat or roto-tiller to sit the winter in the garage). The gas will gel and the engine won’t work. It costs a pretty penny to get the engine cleaned and working again. Also, ethanol doesn’t produce as much energy per gallon as real gasoline. I believe it is about 80%.

      • It is actually 1.5 gallons of gasoline equivalent, or about 3 gallons of ethanol, to make one gallon of ethanol.
        Not too efficient, I’d say.

    • What do you mean “green cars are not green?” The picture in the article makes it clear that green cars don’t pollute and when they burn up, that’s not choking black smoke you see, it is EPA approved fresh, clean air – courtesy of Obama.

  2. Solar and wind didn’t work in the 70’s. Yes, we did this already. A peanut farmer from Georgia came up with this brilliant idea. It won’t work now eigther.
    The only way it will work is with super large solar collectors in space beaming energy directly from the sun to earthbound stations for distribution. Wind power may work on Jupiter but there is not enough wind here on Earth.
    NASA should get to work making space more useful for us and Democrats should all go live in Space where they can’t harm us.

    • One thing the article doesn’t mention is also the transmission line loss (from power plant, to battery). My nephew actually makes a boatload of money selling equipment to the Wind Turbine industry. He tells me that the power line transmission cost to build is 1 million dollars per mile. Not to mention that they kill thousands of birds a year. Do these green wackos really ever consider all facts???……never mind, I know the answer already.

    • instead of just space shouldn’t we send the democrats to the sun?they can do more realistic research close up.if they complain about the heat tell them we’ll send them at night.

    • “Solar and wind didn’t work in the 70’s.” … Clearly, any technology tried 40 years ago shouldn’t be attempted again. Too soon.

      • Solar and wind won’t work in any application where the power has to be always on and you are unable to store the energy because both methods only supply energy when available, not when it is needed. Wind mostly blows at night and in the winter. Energy usuage is highest in the summer and the day. Solar is incredibly inefficient. Both can suddenly stop which causes havoc for the power grid. Normally the grid has 2 kinds of power generation: Always on (hydro & nuclear) which covers the minimum guaranteed usage, and Adjustable (coal, nat gas, & oil) plants that produce more and less to meet the instantaneous needs. The fossil fuel plants can only heat up so quickly and are very inefficient when adjusting output. The fossil fuel plants end up burning even when the wind or solar are producing because that is the only way they can ramp up quickly enough (must heat large quantities of water to produce steam to turn turbines). Therefore we use as much or more fossil fuels when we add wind and solar to the grid. I will agree that wind or solar works (though not necessarily financially viable) in situations where power is only needed intermittently, such as a water pump to fill a watering trough for livestock, or where energy (battery) storage is available (very expensive and takes up a ton of space for only a small amount of energy storage) which may be viable in very rural areas where the cost to run power lines is excessive.

        • Great post Christine. I can see your point. My thinking, however, is that this is not an either or proposition. The blog post we are responding to is about reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Not eliminating. Your point appears to be, alternate energy sources are not a reliable replacement. I agree. But they do supplement. And supplement, by definition, will reduce. Something is better than nothing, right?
          BTW, my 100% electric car charges at night. It is inefficient for power stations to store unused nighttime power generation. But imagine thousands of locally owned storage units (in the form of vehicles) converting the usually lost nighttime capacity offsetting peak usage hours. Pretty cool. But it takes early adopters to get the idea to build out the infrastructure to make this a viable concept for more.
          Regardless of the motivations of the opponents, this is our future. You can be on record as the ones standing in the way of progress, you can stand on the sidelines and watch progress catch up to your ideals, or you can be part of it. I choose to help in my small way.

      • Shawn, they have been trying to improve them for 40yrs and they still provide little more than they did four decades ago. Wind turbines are a threat to endangered hawk and other avian species.

        Same with batteries ~ filled with toxins and with an advertised life of 10 yrs (reality will be 1/2 to 3/4 that) they will create an environmental nightmare when they have to be disposed.

        Another stupid move by the Gov’t was the light bulbs. They are filled with mercury, will not be properly disposed thus introducing this deadly metal into the environment. To call them a green item simply because they save a few pennies a year is a bald face lie.

        • I’ve been concerned about that too, Roger. I just saw a “How Do They Do It” episode (I think that was the one…or something like it) where they talk about how car batteries are recycled into new batteries. Interesting stuff.
          With the Li-Ion batteries in my car, I’ve heard about a lot of neat ideas to re-use the cells that are no longer viable for car use. All sorts of entrepreneurs are jumping in with brilliant ways to grab the discarded batteries and see the $$$ in reusable resources. Not sure how that will play out but I am optimistic.
          As to the light bulb issue, I have started to slowly replace mine with LED’s. They are amazing. Kinda hard to justify the upfront expense still but everytime I go to the hardware store the prices drop and the options expand. I love progress. I encourage progress. I am concerned about progress. But I am more concerned about those who fear progress.

    • Roy, when you guys get off your high horses and help fund work in space, The Democrats can’t do that alone, and so far, at least, the Republicans have done everything in their power to keep us OUT of space. Why has NASA been so thoroughly defunded if you want work in outer space to continue? Yeah, I know, you keep saying “Private enterprise will do it if there is any money to be made at it.” But, at the same time, you want to tighten the rules on space voyages so much private enterprise can’t meet the requirements. As of now, there are several companies working on getting private planes into space, yet I hear nothing from the right about that but disbelief.

      • Where the heck have you been? On Mars? Wake up guy. The Democrats are in charge at the moment and Obama is the one who shut NASA down. Get a life!

      • More liberal propaganda, I see.
        Moon Landing and Exploration – Nixon Administration
        Shuttle Flights started – Reagan Administration
        Constellation Program (Return to Moon; Mars by 2025) – Bush Administration

        Yeah those Republicans really hate Space exploration.

        BTW, Obama Administration cancelled the Constellation Program throwing 100’s of thousands of NASA scientist and engineers out of work ~ many too old to feasibly seek re-employment.

  3. “Do Electric Cars Really Reduce Dependence on Fossil Fuels?”

    No, not at all, it just shifts where the power is coming from, but most of it is still from coal or other sources. Solar is great for lighting, but it could never run a car like gasoline does nor could it EVER run an airplane.

    See the following article –

    How much does Nissan’s EV pollute? Depends where you charge it.

    http://stage.caranddriver.com/features/nissan-leaf-color-tour-feature

      • I don’t understand the rationale behind the voting here. No worries, I’m not offended. Just not sure why I would be voted down for providing more information. Misinformation is stupid. Quoting articles out of context is stupid. The UCSUSA is about promoting electric cars as a critically important improvement to our society and even offer ways we can all help PROMOTE their expansion into society. I never heard of them until Mr. or Mrs. “AntiLiberalCryptonite” pointed them out to me.
        By the way, thanks. Good stuff. Just concerned about redirecting their positive research into negative.

    • Everytime energy changes states, you lose efficiency (power).
      A gasoline power car converts chemical energy (gas) to heat to mechanical energy (go). 2 conversions.
      An electric car get power from a power plant that converts chemical (coal/nat gas/etc) to heat, to electrical energy, which loses power over transmission lines, to chemcial (batter charges), back to electrical (when you need to go) to mechanical. 6 conversions.
      Which do you think is more efficient?

  4. I can’t stand ignorant reporting. SOLAR ENERGY will eventually take the lead as newer techologies will emerge to make solar more efficient and cheaper to produce. The aurthor needs to do mor ehomewrok before blurting out negative reporting. Either that or he’s in bed with BIG OIL! Go to http://solarroadways.com/main.html for a sneek peek into the future of SOLAR POWER GENERATION! I DARE YOU, NO I DOUBLE DARE YOU!

    • I noticed your said a sneak peek into the “future” which means we don’t have it now. There is no doubt that alternate energy sources will be found and developed but as with all good inventions it will not take the government to do it. If the government provided all the good ideas, labor and whatnot then there would be no need for a patent office. It’s the old saw, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”. No one has yet built the “better mouse trap” of energy. But when they do and the customer sees it is to his advantage then they will buy it. BTW you’ll note that roads are built to get to product not the other way around.

      • I have to admit that I use fossil fuel in my Prius,but also use only 12 gallons every other week. That is better than24 gallons every week. Thus is not only better for the environment, but also good for my wallet. If that makes me stupid and selfish then I plead guilty. Schmuck.

        • Well Arthur I am happy that you are able to afford the very pricy Prius. Some of us are less fortunate. When the technology becomes less expensive perhaps others will use it. Those batteries will give out at some point and what do you plan to do with them and how much will it cost you to replace them? And from your very last word I assume you are a Democrat because they are the only ones who seem to feel the need to call people names who have a slightly different opinion. BTW I only use between 20 and 25 dollars a month on my little gasoline powered car. Walk more, drive less.

    • Just for jollies, can you estimate how many square ft would be needed to power a city the size of New York?
      Perhaps if we covered NJ, CT, and most of the rest of New England with solar panels we’d be able to run the city during the day, a warm sunny day. At night, candles for lighting.
      Living in northern NE, I spend days not seeing the sun at all. We have a season called “winter” here, perhaps you’ve heard of it. How far will my elec car get me on a -15 deg day with about 2 ft of fresh snow? And when I leave it in the employee parking lot, can I get back home? Forget SUV’s, they’re bad. Who needs a 4WD to get uphill on snow covered roads?
      Luv to hear your solutions for what is called ‘reality’.

      • Maybe you forgot about the practically uninhabitable dessert in this country?! This would be a perfect place to create the largest solar collection plant in the world. The energy is already DC and could be transported easily through lines all around the US. Now, for you with cloudy towns … wind turbines would work just fine. Though these create an alternating current, the energy they produce could be used locally or transformed into DC for delivery elsewhere.

    • gregory,I can’t stand ignorant comments.solar & wind is far from being efficient enough to take care of our needs.who’s in bed with big oil?the oil companies make pennies per gallon,while government taxes around 50 cents per gallon.if solar & wind is to get any better the American taxpayer does NOT need to subsidize it,yes that’s what it’s called when obama give money to solyndra.that & criminal.

    • I like the idea of finding alternative clean sources for electricity. My point is that we don’t have them, so the electric car isn’t really reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Did you read the article?

  5. I am a Volt owner and I love the car. I bought it not because it’s greener. I could care less about green. I brought it because it’s fun to drive. Because I can give a finger to the governor and her Gas tax. Because I got some of my Federal Taxes back. Because the Olil companies are ripping off the American People. The Volt is the best car I have ever owned. And I plan to purchase another one in 2014 for my wife.

    • Very good point. Simply put, we are able to use our own energy and not the other nation’s oil. Also, I do believe that technology in the “green” sector will continue to improve and become much more efficient than it already is. The screwed up thing is that there is so much FREE energy floating around out there form wind, sun and even electrical storm, we’d be fools not to explore this further.
      Also, I do believe that if energy collection ever becomes so efficient that energy is simply FREE, this would in fact solve many economical and human issues currently occurring. But of course, the dirty, over printed US dollar will impede this as much as possible.

    • Curious what people are voting down in your comment. The hint of a favorable experience that goes against the narrative? Or they dislike your attitude about taxes. (This crowd? Hardly!) Guess that just leaves their love for Oil Companies.

  6. Don’t be fooled by the misinformation, car companies are using the wrong type of batteries which generate oxygen when they get hot so they catch fire, electric cars are about 4 times more efficient than a ICE car and battery technology gets better every day – the government does not want to give up the revenue from gas tax so they have no interest in seeing electric cars on the road

  7. So much misinformation. I’ll just start with the most obvious. Power plants do not use gasoline. Cannot compare efficiency. Taking the dirtiest example of burning coal for power, until you can shove a Santa F/U into your gas tank, the comparison breaks down. At its worst, coal power plants are still more efficient … even with all the wastes … than micro power plants of an internal combustion engine.

    • You’re right. Fossil fuel power plants average at 33% efficiency, as I said in my article. That is more efficient than an internal combustion engine. But there is a further loss of efficiency every time you translate energy from one form to another. I recognize you aren’t going to use coal in your car, and that most fossil fuel power plants use coal. My point was to make sense of the numbers for the reader, and I think that was done honestly. My point is that until we are producing electricity in some other way than fossil fuels, the electric car just isn’t appreciably reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. I would like to see more research being done into clean energy and far less money pumped into research for electric cars. Does that make sense?

  8. They didn’t even take into account the fact that during cold weather; electric cars are worst than gasoline powered cars..

  9. The one discussion I have not heard is, how does the Gov’t collect revenue to take care of the roads? Toll roads? Sales/incom tax? The nice thing about the current system is that the more one drives, and buys fuel, the more that person contributes to the maintenance of the roads that he uses. Sounds fair to me.
    The other discussion I have not heard is, what about the battery? Typical battery today lasts five years – replacement cost about $85 for a good battery. If a five year old car is worth now about $5,000 and it costs $5,000 to replace the battery, doesn’t that mean the electric car has no value after five years?

    • As for the Nissan Leaf EV, it has an 8 year warranty. Still, your point is a valid concern after 8 years. One thing that will help is the battery is not one big block like in our current ICE’s. They are modular. You can replace modules or cells individually and there are a lot of them. Expect the cost on these to come down in the next 8 years. Not a perfect solution but there is no such thing as a perfect solution. Just a better one.

  10. The Prius does not use fossil fuels from a power plant. It recharges the batteries via braking energy. I am not a “snotty tree hugger”, I just like getting good mileage. (btw, Minkoff, avoid ad-hominem attacks, you are better than that).

      • No. It still requires gas. Just does something smart with the normally wasted energy of braking. The point is not about a magic bullet…it is about getting better. Progress.

    • It’s social commentary. Ad hominem attacks make this stuff more interesting to read. And if you’re not snotty, you’re definitely an exception from my experience. 🙂 Good point about regenerative braking, though. It should be noted that it accounts for little more than a 20% boost in efficiency according to studies (http://178.22.59.152/documents/VPPC2011%20Regenerative%20Braking%20paper.pdf). Hence, your *fuel* is charging your battery 70-odd percent of the way. Otherwise, why would you need to fuel up at all? But you are right that, in the case of hybrids, they don’t need to “plug in” as such (although Prius did just release a plug-in model… yippee!). Thanks for commenting. I like open discourse and I have thick skin.

  11. “Engineering” The United States used to have some. Isn’t strange that when the foriegn car makers started make more effiecient cars ,then the big four started making more fuel effiecient cars. Through out our history inventors have created carbuerator’s that achieved very good m.p.g . The oil companies either brought them out or somehow they just disappeared . Well IMO when the huge oil companies can control your synthetic.or alternate fuels then it will be a viable way to reduce our carbon footprint. I read about a mechanical engineer in Calif who invented a carbuerator that would achieve 200 miles per gallon. They found him slumped over his drafting board with a gun shot in the head. They called it suicide Yeah by a guy who was about to become a multi millionaire.

    • You read a automotive urban myth and believed it?
      Carburetors have not been used on cars since 1990 and light trucks since 1994 so where would you install one on a modern vehicle? The oil company wouldn’t have needed to shoot him although may have sent him a pamphlet for a tech school. However, the guy may have blown his brains out when he figured out his design wouldn’t work on anything under 3 decades old.

      Try a little reason before buying into just anything you on the Internet.
      http://www.snopes.com/autos/business/carburetor.asp

  12. The most efficient non-polluting car in the U.S. is the Honda GX natural gas burning Civic.
    Hands down, it and other natural gas burning engines are more efficient and less polluting than other internal combustion engines and electric cars. Natural gas buring vehicles will make it possible for the U.S. to wean itself off of foreign oil. The U.S. can use oil and natural gas produced in North America and become one of the largest energy exporters on the planet. Why aren’t we moving in that direction? Lack of leadership and stupidity is the answer. Why does America insist on sending it’s Petro-dollars overseas to people who despise us, loathe us and want us dead.

  13. It really is amazing how much people bicker back and forth about this issue. Yes, obviously electric cars use electricity produced by CURRENTLY coal and other pollution causing sources, however, the trend for this changing. You can’t expect to have every power problem fixed instantly. The electric car will fall into place one day soon as new technologies are emerging in the market on a yearly basis. These are just baby steps. The statistics may be correct as of now, but this will not always be. FREE energy is all around us all the time and we are getting closer and closer to acquiring this FREE energy.

    • Except for the fact that the emphasis isn’t on harnessing “FREE” energy. It’s on making electric cars. And if these cars increase electricity consumption, new power plants will be built. And they *are* being built. And guess what, the vast majority of them use natural gas (a fossil fuel).

    • Sorry nothing in this world is free. We would be better off to convert to natural gas on an immediate basis to get good results. Right now the liberal/progressive plan is nothing more than a “beneficient” tyranny. By using regulations to force the shutdown of coal power plants reduces the supply of electricity and drives up costs for everybody for everything. It is part of their war on the middle and lower classes. Electric cars are a cruel sham that don’t stand up to science and good sense. You’d be better off to develop hydrogen engines. The liberal/progressive plan now just increases the sufering of more people than they could ever accuse Bush of doing.

  14. and this scenario gets nowhere near the environmantal impact of mining, transporting, processiong, refining, and manufacturing that is required for the lilthium batteries these things use… and which have to be replaced after maybe five years or so. A rather niggly detail the enviros work hard at keeping a secret.

    Nope,, boondoggle if ever there was one. Ever notice the high percentage of the hybrid and electric cars in use by government agencies? Insane….. tripping over each other to apppear so “environmentally conscious”.

    Gotta kick that carbon footprint, though, at all cost….. even though the whole greenhouse gas nonsense is another government scam.

    • looking beyond the immediate is not the way a liberal thinks. Like the PETA girl who said it was horrible and cruel to hunt and kill the poor animals when we could just go to stores and buy the meat there instead!
      And the really scary part? She did not understand the problem with what she said!

  15. I always ask my electric car friends: “Does your car run off coal or natural gas?” They begin to explain that it is electric. But I ask, “where does the electricity come from?” They don’t usually have a clue.

    • I’m pretty sure my electric car gets its energy from a coal plant. Although there is a nuiclear plant not that far. I’ve always wondered that too. What I do know, however, is that regardless of which, it is still more efficient and environmentally friendly than gasoline. And my electric bill has increased significantly less than my gas budget has decreased.

  16. this whole thing is because libs are in charge, and they think that the earth will end, because of people, when the earth has survived more serious problems, way before people showed up. when you compare the amount of time that people have been on earth, it hardly registers on the time clock, compared to the age of the planet earth. it does not matter if you use batteries, coal or oil….the earth will survive, and continue to evolve, wether people are on the planet or not.

  17. The stupidity of these green minded pukes is astonishing. They shout one thing and do the exact opposite. Nothing that is done by them is worth the pile of hog dung they crawled out from under.

  18. Gee, someone else making the same argument I’ve been making all these years. It’s not rocket science after all. First Law of Thermodynamics, in a CLOSED system, energy can neither be created or destroyed; only changed from one form to another. i.e. from chemical energy to thermal energy to mechanical energy to electrical energy in an electrical power plant using fossil fuels.

    And these kooks really do believe batteries grow on trees and don’t have to be manufactured.

    And then this article doesn’t even take into consideration the energy lost in transmission…hey, those wires overhead guys???they have RESISTANCE. P=R^2/E, that is Power (P in watts) is equal to the quotient of the Resistance (R measured in ohms) squared divided by the voltage (E measured in volts). A kilowatt is 1000 watts. This is the power lost to resistance in the form of heat. Every process along the way produces heat (lost energy). Any electrician or electronics technician knows this, has to know this.

    • I have been arguing for years to bring the lines down and run them through shielded, waterproof trenches. Prevents damage from wind storms, reduces the “supposed” health hazards of EMP as well as the real ones of a downed line. It also would reduce the susceptibility of older transformers to massive solar flares.

      The only reason they strung them up by telegraph (original name) poles in the old days was they did not have wheeled trenching machines

      • Totally agree. Problem is the expense and the government red tape to see it through. Here is a positive way to get our government involved in securing a better future. Would create a lot of jobs, too!

  19. Only a brain dead liberal would believe that an electric car does anything except make the few who can afford to waste the money on a tin coffin status symbol feel good about their other excesses.

  20. It would be a good thing in general if all envirowackos, during their search for clean energy, would lick their finger and put it into a 220 volt outlet…while stanging knee deep in water.

  21. With all the fossil fuel you burn to make ethanol plus all the fossil fuel you burn to produce electricity???? I do not see it !!!!!

  22. ….. and, you have not even begun to consider the additional mining required to obtain the materials for the batteries (or the disposal thereof) or the lightweight materials required to lessen the weight of the vehicle so that “electric” is actually “efficient”.
    This country was full of electric cars and trucks around the turn of the century (early 1900s) ….. want to know why they are not still around????? If they were so good, they would have been working on making the batteries more efficient, even back then.

  23. One Volt self ignites, three WEEKS after the original collision that caused the damage, and inside a government owned storage garage. There have been a couple of others involved in fires they did NOT cause. If the rest of your reporting matches that little bit, hardly worth the time to read it, which I have only skipped through as of yet. You keep saying fossil fuels are the only thing powering the Volt, and all the other total electric cars, yet many of the areas where they are used the most use nuclear power plants as their main source of power, with natural gas making a good part of the peaking power. In areas around St. Louis, MO, that get their power from Union Electric in one of its various disguises, most of the power comes from nuclear or water. Yes, Union Electric has a major hydroelectric power plant in the north central Ozarks that supplies a good part of the power for the St. Louis area.

  24. If you have solar on your house and an adapter, electric vehicles are a smart, money saving, environmentally smart option. Many solar companies in California charge less per month for electricity then people pay for their bill and if your car is a gas guzzler, paying monthly for solar panels saves a lot of money. Although developing water powered cars would be the best solution.

  25. Factor in the environmental damage from the production of the exotic materials needed to provide the batteries and motors as well. Not to mention many of these substances are provided by nations not particularly economically friendly to us. They are also not that interested in producing the materials with low impact to their environment or related emissions either.

    As far as power here in the NW we get most from hydroelectric so it makes more sense to go electric here, especially if you charge at night. (Until the envirowacko liberals make us tear down all the dams)

  26. I use ONLY ethanol free gas. It give me about 20 to 25% increase in MPG and better performance. I pay a dime more per gallon but burn about 25% less fuel per mile, so it is actually cheaper than ethanol mix and my engine is much cleaner inside which means better performance and less maintenance

  27. Does the author even know how hybrid cars work? Sorry, but you’re argument is completely off. Hybrids *don’t* use fossil fuels from the power plants dummy. They generate their own electricity from the fossil fuels they burn themselves. So in fact when a Prius gets 50 MPG, that’s really truly twice as efficient as most all-gas cars.

  28. geothermal, Hydro and Nuclear energy sources of the future almost no co2 footprint in operation. The real green energy.

  29. where the hell do they think the power comes to charge thier volts? The FREE plug in your house? when the power grid goes down the volts will go nowhere.

  30. People (companies) have been trying to make an electric car since the early 1900’s. After a 100 years, if it was doable, don’t you think that it would have been done by now??? The USA, with the prodding of JFK, put a man on the moon in 20 years…Duuhhh!

    • Make that “the USA, with the prodding of JFK, put a man on the moon in less than 10 years”
      JFK ‘We Wil Go to the Moon” Speech ~ 09 Dec 1962
      Neil Armstrong first steps on the Moon ~ 21 Jul 1969

  31. And of course, they never factor in the fossil fuel expense of those ridiculously toxic batteries, for which “rare earth minerals” are sourced from China. Gotta get it over here somehow, so let’s not forget that means a barge that doesn’t burn salt water…
    Let’s not get started on ethanol!

  32. This is a very old and incorrect position. Already invalidated by people who actually know how to do math.

    Write something worthwhile next time.

  33. Hybrid cars don’t use power from the power plant. It IS itself a power plant. That’s how they work. And mine gets 42 miles per gallon average. I love it. I’m not a leftist, and my car isn’t either :0) Though she does support same sex marria……………..wait, maybe she AHHHHH!!

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