Thursday, December 18, 2014

Alternate-fuel vehicles - sometimes less healthy than gasoline

Alternate-fuel vehicles - are they less healthy? Depending on the which fuel is used, sometimes the answer is YES.

Popular Mechanics describes a study that says there is a split - that some alternate fuels are less healthy than gasoline-powered cars! The alternates included electric vehicles with six different fuels for generating the electricity. The big villains are using corn ethanol for fuel and electric cars when the electricity is generated by coal - which much of it currently is

The researchers investigated ten alternatives to gasoline. They include diesel, compressed natural gas, ethanol derived from corn, and ethanol derived from cellulose, as well as electric vehicles powered in six different ways: by electricity from coal, natural gas, corn leaf and stalk combustion, wind, water, or solar energy. They then modeled the effects of replacing 10 percent of U.S. vehicles that currently run on gasoline by 2020. ...

The findings showed a dramatic swing the positive and negative effects on health based on the type of energy used. Internal combustion vehicles running on corn ethanol and electric vehicles powered by electricity from coal were the real sinners; according the study, their health effects were 80 percent worse compared to gasoline vehicles. However, electric vehicles powered by electricity from natural gas, wind, water, or solar energy might reduce health impacts by at least 50 percent compared to gasoline vehicles.

They were studying health effects, not global warming.

For more see the abstract at Proceedings NAS.

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