No matter where you plug in, electric cars are greener

To the editor: While I agree about the growing market for electric vehicles, I take issue with the authors' conclusions about the carbon emissions of EVs. ("Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live," Op-Ed, Nov. 16)

An updated analysis we recently completed at the Union of Concerned Scientists found that everywhere in the U.S., an EV produces lower carbon emissions than the average new gasoline compact car. Also, 60% of Americans now live in regions where an EV produces fewer global warming emissions than the most efficient gasoline-hybrid vehicles.


Our "wells-to-wheels" analysis considers all emissions from electricity generation as well as oil extraction and refining, while the overly pessimistic results of the authors are, in part, due to not including the emissions that come from refining gasoline.

However, their ultimate conclusion is correct: Clean power plant standards are important for making EVs even cleaner in the future.

Don Anair, Oakland

The writer is the research and deputy director of the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.


To the editor: Yes, Virginia, electric cars are greener. No matter where or when electric cars are charged, they are inherently three or four times more efficient than a comparably sized gasoline-powered vehicle.

A fully electric car converts about 70% of its electrical energy to wheel power, while up to roughly 30% of the energy you put in a conventional gasoline vehicle moves that car in any direction. At least 70% of the gasoline-derived energy you pump into a traditional car is lost thanks to the inherent inefficiencies of an internal combustion engine.

Contemplate that loss the next time you pull up to the pump. That adds up to a lot of money spent on energy that doesn't produce movement.

Linda Nicholes, Huntington Beach

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion