© 2024
NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Electric Cars in Colorado Have Higher Carbon Emissions, Says Group

An electric car charger in California
Loco Steve/Creative Commons
An electric car charger in California

 The electric car may be the next big hope for reducing carbon emissions, but one environmental advocacy group says just how effective these vehicles are at limiting emissions depends on where you are in the country.

Powering up electric vehicles takes oil out of the equation, but the Union of Concerned Scientists says that there are still greenhouse gas emissions associated with running the cars. That’s because users still have to tap into their regional electric grid, and some areas rely more heavily on coal. Colorado is one such area, and ranked in the lowest category. But reportauthor Don Anair says the results are still positive for electric vehicle owners in the state.

“The grid is getting cleaner over time,” he says. “So that’s kind of a unique thing where as someone’s vehicle gets older, it gets cleaner in terms of the electric vehicle.”

Anair’s analysis was based off 2007 Environmental Protection Agency data, which was the most recent available. According to the Union for Concerned Scientists some of the best places to plug in an electric car are California, New York and the Pacific Northwest.

The report also concluded that when electric vehicle owners power up their cars, they can save between $750 and $1,200 per year compared with filling up the gas tank for an average car with 27 mpg. Researchers estimated fuel prices at $3.50 per gallon. However, these savings are offset by the higher prices that electric car owners pay when purchasing their vehicles.

Related Content
  • Jack Rickard and Brian Noto have developed something of a cult following on their webcast in which they talk in soul-crushing detail about the intricacies of how to gut a gas-guzzling road warrior and convert it into an all-electric vehicle. On Wednesday, they host the Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention at the Cape Girardeau airport.
  • Fuel-economy standards are set to double by 2025. Electric cars could help reach that goal, but consumers just aren't buying them on a large scale. Beloved by niche markets, the cars face similar challenges as when they first appeared over 100 years ago: a higher price than gas cars and concerns over battery life.