New report: Even when powered by coal, electric cars are good for the environment

Electric carWho says there’s no good news out there? A new, fascinating and encouraging report from the good people at Environment North Carolina extols the benefits of the growing movement toward electric-powered cars. This is from a release that accompanied the report:

“The report, “Driving Cleaner: More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution,” shows that electric vehicles could prevent more than 401,000 metric tons of climate-changing carbon pollution annually in North Carolina by 2025. That’s the equivalent of saving more than 45,122,000 gallons of gasoline per year, or eliminating tailpipe pollution from 84,000 of today’s cars and trucks.

Electric cars are cleaner than vehicles that run on oil, even when charged with coal-fired power, according to the Environment North Carolina report. That’s because electric motors are much more efficient than the internal combustion engine. And as our electricity system incorporates more wind, solar and other forms of zero-emission energy, electric cars will only get cleaner. Ultimately, an electric vehicle charged completely with wind or solar power can operate with little to no impact on public health or contribution to global warming.

With new advanced cars – whether a plug-in hybrid model like the Chevy Volt, or a fully electric model like the Nissan Leaf, or the Tesla Model-S – Americans can travel increasingly longer distances on electricity alone.”

The report goes on to make several specific policy recommendations for North Carolina that could abet the shift, including:

  • North Carolina should set ambitious goals for electric vehicle deployment.
    ? For example, in his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama set a goal of deploying 1 million electric vehicles in the United States by 2015. To help make this goal possible, the Economic Recovery Act provided billions in funds for electric vehicle factories and charging stations.
    ? North Carolina could contribute by adopting the Zero Emission Vehicle program, which would require automakers to sell more electric cars here.
  • North Carolina should repeal the electric vehicle tax. Passed in 2012, the tax adds $100 annually to all registration renewal fees for electric cars. Instead, North Carolina should offer a tax credit to make it easier to own electric vehicles. For example, Georgia offers up to a $5,000 tax credit.
  • And finally, the EPA should help clean up the electricity system by finalizing the recently announced federal carbon pollution standards for power plants, and North Carolina should support and implement them.

Read the entire report by clicking here.

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