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People who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they are helping the environment. But a new US study finds their vehicles actually make the air dirtier, worsening global warming.

Ethanol isn't so green, either. "It's kind of hard to beat gasoline" for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. "A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean ... are not better than gasoline."

The key is where the source of the electricity all-electric cars. If it comes from coal, the electric cars produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gas, because of the pollution made in generating the electricity. They also are significantly worse at heat-trapping carbon dioxide that worsens global warming, it found.

The study finds all-electric vehicles cause 86 percent more deaths from air pollution than do cars powered by regular gasoline. But if the power supply comes from natural gas, the all-electric car produces half as many air pollution health problems as gas-powered cars do. And if the power comes from wind, water or wave energy, it produces about one-quarter of the air pollution deaths.

Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas. But ethanol isn't, with 80 percent more air pollution mortality, according to the study.

Source: NZ Herald

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