Welcome to PriusChat

We'd love to have you join our community and participate in the conversation! Sign up for FREE today.

Sign Up

Prius is more climate-friendly than electric cars in 36 states

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Arroyo, Apr 29, 2012.

Social Buttons

  1. Arroyo

    Arroyo Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles area
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Depending on where you live, generating the electricity to charge an electric car can produce more greenhouse-gas pollution than driving a fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car. According to a new report by Climate Central, the hybrid electric Toyota Prius produces less greenhouse-gas pollution than the all-electric Nissan Leaf in 36 states, because when you plug in a Leaf to recharge in those states, you are tapping into electricity generated largely by burning coal and natural gas.

    More at A BIT OF A SHOCKER Prius cleaner than electrics in 36 states | LA Car
    4 people like this.
  2. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Messages:
    1,882
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    PNW
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three


    But using LESS OIL which has indirect greenhouse gas costs (US military burns a lot of oil mostly to secure more oil) and money spent on military oil costs is wasted and could be used for solar, wind, tidal and cleaning up coal emissions.

    Plus people in those states can purchase "clean" energy options from their utility and reduce the greenhouse effects of the electricity they use to zero.
  3. Keiichi

    Keiichi Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    805
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Goleta
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    Although the problem is... Electrical power generation is also long term creation. And while we can always opt for cleaner energy options, the problem is not many places create them. China has reported it was more problematic for electrical cars due to demand for more power.
  4. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Messages:
    4,076
    Likes Received:
    738
    Location:
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Your Vehicle Year:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    From the article:


    That shift is already happening. With the policies that favored coal over natural gas gone, gas is the preferred option for peak plants. The grid is getting cleaner.

    For those concerned about GHG or any power generation pollution, there are home solar, wind, and even fuel cell options. With a plug, an owner has options to improve their transportation emissions. A hybrid might be better now, but you can't improve it.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Keiichi

    Keiichi Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    805
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Goleta
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    And this article is only true if and only if we don't plan on it... But most places will be switching over to such things over time. China, however, has noted that it is sort of a problem for them given their electric production is heavily on the cheaper means.
  6. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    874
    Location:
    United States
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Ditto, ProximalSuns. Many utilities offer non-fossil options. Anyone who cares enough about global warming to be thinking about buying an EV should start by switching their household energy supply. It would probably cost a lot less and do more good.
  7. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    9,749
    Likes Received:
    1,892
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two


    True, but you can use the money saved to insulate your home, install thermal solar, put in windows ... TODAY cut down GHG and pollution, while waiting for the greening of the grid.

    I really cannot see the rationale of buying an EV that may be good for 10 years, when it is quite clear that the greening of the grid will take much longer.
  8. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    9,749
    Likes Received:
    1,892
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two


    Yep, but easier said than done.

    My neighborhood Assn nixed my PV plans, and the utility's 'buy green' is a scam. Instead I put money into conservation and switching out coal and NG for (less) NG and sun.
  9. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Messages:
    4,366
    Likes Received:
    682
    Location:
    NOVA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    EV is a energy source shifting technology, not really an energy saving technology. Part of the problem is EV is often represented as energy saving. For example, the EPA choice of defining 100 MPGe for EV gives the wrong impression that EV energy use is much smaller (than say a Prius hybrid).
    1 person likes this.
  10. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    9,049
    Likes Received:
    1,502
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II


    The epa really is not commenting where the energy is coming from so the 99 MPGe on a leaf or 119 MPGe on a tesla roadster is really much more energy efficient than a 50 MPG prius with the fuel put in its tank/battery. EPA has never said, hey where does that fuel come from.

    The DOE tries to answer that, and comes up with 3 answers.
    1) is average grid/average refinery well/mine to wheels
    2) is look at your state or local power average
    3) look at the scarity and national import, this is for cafe and will hypercharge those EV efficiencies by over 2 times because we don't need a military to get scarce electricity, but we might to get scarce oil.

    These other studies do a by state look, which is fine, but they take a snapshot in time. They also only look at "efficiency" or "ghg" but not at oil scarcity or individual choice to do things like fuel the car with solar panels like hill and gwmort have done.

    One of the main reasons people do not buy phevs or bevs is the price of the car for their perceived value. If someone has access to charging and solar or wind power, there is no way a ice car has a lower footprint.
    1 person likes this.
  11. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Messages:
    1,882
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    PNW
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three


    No. The EV is an overall energy saver. Replacing the energy inefficient gasoline burning internal combustion engine with more efficient electrical energy used more efficiently by traction motor.

    The issue was whether the EV portion created more green house gases. It does not because power plant generation is much more energy efficient than small gasoline engines no matter what the fuel, even oil.

    Add to that the fact the electricity users can pay to subsidize energy sources that produce no greenhouse gases, wind, solar etc.
  12. Sacto1549

    Sacto1549 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA USA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    I think the author of the article forgets that thanks to tough EPA rules, coal burning power plants in the USA are vastly cleaner than coal burning power plants in most of the world, thanks to required systems to remove particulates and sulfur out of the exhaust. As such, you don't see the air pollution from coal burning power plants that was fairly common up until the early 1980's.

    I've always contended the vastly worse air pollution issue is the local air pollution from millions of gasoline-fueled automobiles and diesel-fueled trucks; but now that the EPA requires Tier 2 Bin 5 certification for automobiles and much tighter restrictions on commercial trucks, even the Los Angeles basin--which used to choke during the summer with a thick, brownish smog--has enough clear days that you could actually see the top of Mount San Antonio from downtown Los Angeles fairly frequently.
  13. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    2,109
    Likes Received:
    616
    Location:
    Maine
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    II


    You might consider taking them to court. The courts have been overturning neighborhood associations on energy issues lately. Obviously, check your local conditions first.
  14. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,185
    Likes Received:
    726
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Your Vehicle Year:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    It is true that how clean an EV/PHEV depends in part on how clean your energy source is. The same holds for gas burners.

    The author of the study calculated the upstream greenhouse gas emmissions of gasoline ONLY for conventional crude. So if you ignore the MUCH higher GHG emmissions of tar sands and shale oil (is very heavy crude counted as conventional or unconventional) AND use grid cleanliness from a couple of years ago... Then yes, there are quite a few states where a Prius beats out an EV.

    If you include unconventional oil, and use the cleaner grid of today, there are still some states, but not as many.
    If the grid continues to get cleaner, and unconventional oil becomes a larger and larger portion of our available oil EVs will continue to get cleaner.
    And the Prius will continue to get dirtier. It will still be the cleanest gas burner, which is great. The number of states when the Prius is cleaner than an EV will become fewer and fewer.
  15. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Messages:
    4,366
    Likes Received:
    682
    Location:
    NOVA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    I agree EPA's EV MPGe methodology (99-119 MPGe) is just saying very little gasoline is being used. Unfort, many people assume it means little fossil fuels are being used, which is not true in general.

    As far as PV or wind, agree that reduces carbon footprint. But there is an emerging energy policy question (for Japan now and USA later) whether or not it makes sense to divert grid power to cars. In other words, you can reduce carbon footprint but we still have to conserve electricity/energy.
  16. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Messages:
    12,927
    Likes Received:
    2,330
    Location:
    Fort Lee, NJ
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I think it is becoming clear to a lot of people. EV (at vehicle level) is very efficient but electricity is very inefficient to produce (nuclear exception). Then, the realization that gas-electric hybrid provides the most bang for the buck without range or refueling speed restrictions.

    Unless a plugin hybrid uses very little electricity Per mile (without hurting gas mileage), it doesn't make sense in term of progress in green technology.
  17. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Messages:
    1,882
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    PNW
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three


    Looking at it from a pure efficiency standpoint might not be efficient overall.

    The reason for driving a Prius is to use less oil. The EV option, if one has access to home charging station, does the most to reduce oil use, jumping the Prius mpg from 50 to 100 range, depending on the daily commute.

    Additionally, a gasoline engine is about 30% efficient in converting energy to output, about the same for a big power plant, so the base energy efficiency of both is about the same.

    So the PIP is very efficient in increasing mpg of the car.

    To the article in the thread's title, since PIP owners can, and most probably do, purchase sustainable energy options from their utility, the PIP is a totally justified choice in maximum reduction in oil use and maximum reduction in green house gases.
Similar Threads: Prius more
Forum Title Date
Gen II Prius Main Forum my 07 prius is no more Aug 15, 2014
Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting Prius wont start anymore Aug 14, 2014
Newbie Forum Prius wont start anymore Aug 14, 2014
Prius c Main Forum Insurance for the Prius C is more expensive Aug 4, 2014
Newbie Forum Used prius; (more or less) stationary for ~2yrs; likely issues? Jul 23, 2014