Episode 144: I am considering buying an electric vehicle, should I?

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity because of perceived benefits to the environment. Nick Muller, a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon, explains how to know if an electric vehicle is right for you.



Learn more

Analysing environmental benefits from driving electric vehicles by Stephen P. Holland, Erin T. Mansur, Nicholas Z. Muller, Andrew J. Yates

Drive Clean California

All-Electric Vehicles from FuelEconomy.gov


HOST: Should you buy that electric vehicle you’ve been considering? On this week’s Energy Bite, Nick Muller, a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

MULLER: The motivation for purchasing an electric vehicle may stem from a variety of sources. These include environmental values, costs of operation, and national security due to decreased reliance on imported fossil fuels. Recent research calls into question whether electric vehicles actually produce tangible environmental benefits.

HOST: Why is that?

MULLER: The environmental impacts from electric vehicles tend to outweigh impacts from conventional vehicles mostly due to battery manufacturing. Additionally, when an electric vehicle is charged, emissions depend on what fuels are used to generate electricity. In areas of the U.S. where power is generated mostly by burning coal, electric vehicles tend to be worse for the environment than gasoline vehicles

The electricity grid in the U.S. has changed considerably over the past decade. Given the current and likely future regulatory landscape it is expected that coal will continue to fall lower as a share of total power produced in the U.S. This means that the environmental benefits of electric vehicles will likely rise over time.

HOST: Are you considering buying an electric vehicle? If so, why? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

ANNOUNCER: Energy Bite is a co-production between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Mellon’s’ Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.


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