I keep seeing that Nissan commercial that asks “What if everything ran on gasoline?” Then they show the zero emissions Leaf and say “Then again, what if nothing did?” It’s tempting to think I need one of those.
Then I remember that 60% of electricity in the U.S. is produced by coal burning power plants. Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel and also produces the most pollution per pound of any fossil fuel when burned. And we can talk about “clean coal” if you’d like, but it’s an expensive process still being developed and tons of coal are still being burned each day in the meantime.
So the irony is that people buying the Nissan Leaf or the Chevy Volt or any other 100% electric car, in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint, may actually be increasing their environmental impact.