DWP Official Seeks to Clear Air on Pollution Impacts from Electric Vehicles

* I was disturbed by sections of a recent article and cartoon ("State Taking Wrong Road in Drive for Electric Vehicles," June 12), which inaccurately said that air emissions from power plants will negate the benefits of the commercial introduction of zero-emission electric vehicles.

In California, electric vehicles are 97% less polluting than conventional gasoline-powered cars, even accounting for air emissions from power plants that generate the electricity to recharge the batteries. This number is based on data collected by the California Air Resources Board and other air quality agencies.

Beyond that, it is important to note that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's four power plants in the Los Angeles Basin, including one in Sun Valley, produce less than one-tenth of 1% of the region's air pollution. From the late 1960s through the early 1990s, the DWP reduced emissions of oxides of nitrogen (a primary precursor to smog) from these plants by 90%, and another 90% reduction is planned by the year 2000.

We must attack the primary air pollution culprits in our region, which are mobile sources, including the 9 million motor vehicles driven by some 13 million people. These sources account for two-thirds of our air pollution. Given these facts, it becomes clear that electric vehicles will play a very significant role in putting Los Angeles on the road to becoming a cleaner, healthier environment in which to live and a viable place to do business in the future.


General Manager and Chief Engineer

Department of Water and Power

Los Angeles

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