|According to some, converting to an electric vehicle just transfers the pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack.
Well, even if that were true, it's easier to control at single or "point" source than millions of cars;
but as Phil Karn's analysis shows, the total emissions for EVs are profoundly lower than total emissions for Internal
Combustion ("ICE") cars. That's not counting the other costs connected with using gas: exploration,
refining, transportation, wars and political subsidies to control oil supplies, drilling, distribution, and other
innumerable features of the Oil Economy we take for granted like big oil tanks and tankers, oil spills, oil pipelines,
fiery car crashes, gasoline and lead poisoning, etc., etc.
|Realize that Karn's analysis does not compare the "well-to-wheel" emission for gasoline vs. that of the electric used to power
EV because it assumes the gallon of gasoline just appeared, out of nowhere, with no upstream cost, and only the
obvious, visible pollution is listed, but compared with electric power assumed produced from coal or natural gas.
But the gallon of gasoline does not just
appear from nowhere; and even a small solar rooftop system can provide enough electric credits to drive a normal
distance each month, free of cost as well as using essentially no oil.
If you are going to talk about the "REAL POLLUTION" of gas, then include the REAL upstream costs. That gallon of gasoline has got a lot of baggage
upstream of its burning in the car, and it also has a lot of downstream pollution that an EV minimizes and that
gets ignored after the car moves.
Phil Karn pointed out that you can easily compare the numbers for California's electric, which is largely produced
from Natural Gas (LA Dept. of Water and Power burns coal in Utah) with the pollution from burning gasoline. Strict
comparison shows that from natural gas to an EV moving, compared with the gallon of gas just burning, the EV is 97% cleaner in terms of noxious pollutants.
But even asssuming the electric is not produced from rooftop solar or natural gas, let's assume it comes 100% from
s STILL much cleaner than gasoline produced from petroleum!
For example, to get that gallon of gasoline, did you know that oil extraction and refining is the biggest industrial
user of electric (and natural gas) in California? A large proportion of the oil barrel, large enough to power an
EV a long way, is overshadowed by the electric it takes to make the gasoline. Big refineries lighted up, with burners,
heavy duty oil pumps, electric; and water injection/pumping/separator plants, such as the one on Signal Hill that
processes 90% water, take enormous amounts of cheap electric power. If electric
is so dirty, then why not count the "dirt" into the cost of gasoline?
Then there is the skewing of our foreign policy to ensure oil supplies which we assume "necessary". But
it's a cost, of perhaps $40B per year...and it goes largely to prop up oil dictators, who often flare gas (in general,
natural gas and petroleum come from different wells; where it's the same well, the gas is a nuisance) and spill
oil, blowing diesel smoke all over and running battleships and aircraft, not to mention shooting off depleted uranium
shells and other ordinance. Then there's the war budget, $400B/year and rising.
Think of the oil spills. Those are part of the cost of gasoline. According to the medievals, when you "will
the end, you will the means", and the terrible deaths of Sea Otters, birds and fish are part of the ghastly
"well to wheel" cost of gasoline that gets ignored. In one famous case, Chevron argued before the Coastal
Commission that drilling spoils off Santa Barbara were "too contaminated and toxic" to be allowed to
barge them to a landfill, and thus, they received permission to dump those toxic spoils into the Ocean!
Most refineries and oil debarking facilities, not to mention oil rigs, dump waste and drilling spoils into the
Rivers and Oceans. One Wilmington Refinery got tagged for $3M fine, which is nothing to them, for fouling Dominguez
Channel. Then there's BP, which dumped 2000 lbs. of sulfur per day into the Los Angeles air basin, at an estimated cost to Taxpayers of $300M per year, one of a
dozen refineries upwind of L.A. Tally these costs in the "well to wheel", too, as well as the loss of
former wetlands, now besmirched with oil-soaked refinery detritis, and also include the cost of water shortage,
because EACH of these refineries use hundreds of millions (yes, 100Ms) gallons of potable water EACH day. They
get a special rate.
Now lets see, we're not yet to oil and gas fires, refinery fumes which are discretely let out after midnight, when
downwind residents and their children are asleep, and wonder why they can't breathe the next morning, diesel smoke,
tanker trucks, and of course smog gear, auto exhaust, CO and CO2 and NOx, etc.
Then, there are the untallied DOWNSTREAM costs, which EVs have only in a small degree: Gas cars have more brake
lining and tire particles (toxic ingredients of "urban runoff"); and gas cars spew ethylene glycose,
oil droplets, gasoline droplets that make the roads slick, cause accidents and wash into River and Ocean.
Then the health care costs, MTBE, etc., etc.