motorists in Michigan, charging their electric vehicles could produce more greenhouse-gas emissions than fueling up and driving the most efficient gas-powered hybrids, according to a new study released Monday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The organization looked at how electricity is produced around the U.S. — regions more dependent on coal for their electricity received a lower score.
“Today, in Michigan, our analysis is an electric vehicle is as good as some of the best gas vehicles and some hybrids, and if Michigan continues to invest in renewable energy, it can go from being a ‘good region’ to a ‘best region,’” said Don Anair, one of the researchers.
He said that in Michigan, where 70 percent of electricity comes from coal-burning power plants, a plug-in electric vehicle affects the environment the same as a car that gets 38 mpg. That’s not as environmentally beneficial as a 2012 Toyota Prius, for example, which gets 50 mpg. Michigan’s score is about equal to the all-gasoline 2012 Scion iQ. The Rocky Mountain region ranked last with a 33 mpg score. The southwestern corner of Michigan and parts of the Upper Peninsula are lumped with the region that ranked cleaner at 41 mpg and includes mostly Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.
“When people are considering electric vehicles, I think emissions is one question,” Anair said. “This will certainly make it clear that even with no tailpipe emissions, there are emissions associated with charging it.”