Tesla Drivers Don't Be Too Smug: Electric Cars Are Not So Green, Says Study


Tesla plugged in

In a new study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences University of Minnesota researchers report in various scenarios that vehicles using alternative fuels are often more harmful to human health than are conventional gasoline-powered automobiles. From the abstract:

We find that powering vehicles with corn ethanol or with coal-based or "grid average" electricity increases monetized environmental health impacts by 80% or more relative to using conventional gasoline.

Air Pollution Vehicle Deaths

The AP reported:

"It's kind of hard to beat gasoline" for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. "A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean … are not better than gasoline."

Not surprsingly, the study does find that vehicles powered by electricity derived from wind and solar power have the least health effects. Keep in mind, however, that solar provided 0.23 percent and wind 4.13 percent of U.S. electricity in 2013.