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Electric Cars

Published: June 29, 2009

The March/April issue of The Saturday Evening Post contained an excellent
article on plug-in hybrid cars ["Andy Frank and the Power of the Plug"]
written by Edward Humes. However, in the same issue, Bill Major’s letter
regarding the Tesla, an electric car, was vastly incomplete. This car’s batteries are charged from the national grid. It assumes that all the electrical energy coming from our national grid is obtained by burning fossil fuels. Currently, the grid has a goodly portion of its sources emitting no carbon dioxide. These are nuclear (20 percent), solar, wind, and geothermal. All told, a good approximation would be that 27 percent of the energy coming from our wall receptacles comes from sources that do not emit carbon dioxide.
Richard W. Rusk
Blacksburg, Virginia


  • Gary Lecocq

    Isn’t electric cars a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul?

    According to Wikipedia, about 40% of America’s carbon dioxide comes from electricity. About another 1/3 comes from transportation as a whole. Thus, there is certainly a trade off in carbon dioxide when we go to electric cars. Increasing electric use will increase carbon dioxide, even as it saves vehicle pollution of CO2.

    As to nuclear not producing carbon dioxide, that may be true; but nuclear waste is a very concerning matter to me. It must be stored, and I am not sure I deem that as a safe alternative. Increasing nuclear waste seems irresponsible if unnecessary.

    Hydrogen-fueled cars seem to be the most responsible technology to me. That technology is available, albeit in its early stages, and California is working to force this issue with a hydrogen-only highway under strong consideration. We are letting the vehicle manufacturers off the hook, as usual, with electric vehicles.

    Hydrogen is very possible to provide by electrolyzing water. The only by-product is oxygen. That is a discussion for another time. Talk about a win-win…