‘Polluting’ electric vehicles? groups say that’s not true for Wasatch Front

Amy Joi O’Donoghue – Deseret News

A thought-provoking air quality study released this month gives car consumers a lot to ponder as they fill up the gas tank, plug in their vehicle or stop for a refueling at a compressed natural gas station.

To be entirely environmentally friendly — in consideration of the full range of “life cycle” air pollution impacts — an electric vehicle that gets its charge from coal-fired power plants is a worse choice than a conventional gas-powered vehicle, according to the analysis.

That finding in the University of Minnesotastudy sent local clean air and electric vehicle advocates into a frenzy to try to counter what they say is the wrong message for the Wasatch Front.

“While we don’t disagree with the study in general, it lacks some of the specificity of our local air quality story about tailpipe emissions and their impact along the Wasatch Front,” said Kevin Emerson, senior policy and regulatory associate for Utah Clean Energy. “Electric vehicles have immediate air quality benefits and will continue to have even greater benefits here. We don’t want that to get lost.”

The study, published Dec. 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at how concentrations of particulate matter and ground-level ozone change as the result of using the various options for powering vehicles. (…)

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