It's official. EVs are much better for the environment than ICE cars.

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by PHEV Newbie, May 13, 2018.

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  1. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  3. Jaketesla

    Jaketesla Member

    This article is fairly thorough but it still misses one point. The refining of crude oil uses large amounts of electricity. Anyone that complains about EV's using "dirty" electricity is ignorant of the fact that their ICE car is using "dirty" gas which was made by using "dirty" electricity, so the ICE car is doubly dirty.
    dubluv likes this.
  4. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    That is the argument I make right away whenever someone tries to pull this crap. Then I take it even further, like the trucks that take the gas to the gas stations, the electricity used to operate the gas stations 24/7, etc.
    dubluv likes this.
  5. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    It's called the "long tailpipe" argument. It uses cherry-picked data, comparing the most fuel-efficient gasmobiles to the least energy-efficient BEVs, and data from the regions with the greatest amount of grid energy from coal, and the lowest amount of fossil-free electricity generation. Needless to say, it's a highly biased argument based on skewed data.

    The Long Tailpipe argument is a myth from Big Oil think-tanks and other EV bashers, one which was debunked years ago. But that doesn't stop them from using it. Fake news and "alternative facts" have been around long before those terms were popularized.

    For those who want to do a deep dive into the figures and facts regarding this issue, the following link is a good starting point:

    "The Myth of the Long Tailpipe"
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  6. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I don't have the details of battery manufacturing, but it makes sense that electricity would be less polluting than gas overall.

    - Refining gas takes energy

    - Crude, other than pipelines, has to be shipped, much of it is on tanker ships.

    - Extracting crude from the ground involves some polluting energy usage.

    - Gas has to be shipped to gas stations, sometimes over long distances. Currently, other than pipelines, that means diesel trucks.

    Unlike trucking and shipping there are losses with electricity delivery, but it isn't polluting.

    As the article said electricity is increasingly produced with less and less pollutants. As electric generation improves there is no equivalent improvement in gas transportation or the refining process.

    Our city electricity has a high percentage of wind generated power, and hydroelectric power. To top things off we, and many of our city neighbors, have roof solar to charge our cars.
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  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Few things in my lifetime have been such a pleasant surprise as how swiftly coal-fired power plants in the USA have been taken offline or converted to burn natural gas. Of course that's mostly due to economic reasons rather than for pro-environmental "green" reasons, since natural gas is now so much cheaper to burn than coal. However, since natural gas is so much less polluting than coal when burned for power, who cares that the environment isn't the primary reason? The important thing is that grid power has been rapidly getting "cleaner" every year!

    That's a win for everyone except the coal industry! :)

  9. bobcubsfan

    bobcubsfan Active Member

    I have posted this graphic elsewhere, but take a look:

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  10. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    That chart is misleading, but the overall point is good, EVs use less energy.

    One area it is misleading is refining gas loses some energy content as shown (the "6 kWh per gallon" figure), but converts the fuel to a form usable and cleaner burning in cars. This doesn't represent 6 kWh of electricity used in refining, that is a myth, rather the fuel has less energy than the oil it came from.

    Another point where it is misleading is it shows only a low efficiency electrolysis. When it can be more efficient at high temps (greater than 100% if taking heat from environment).
  11. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

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  13. bobcubsfan

    bobcubsfan Active Member

    The chart was done in the UK. But it is interesting that Hydrogen is pretty bad too.
  14. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's at all appropriate to call it a "myth". It's true that this is often overstated by EV advocates as "6 kWh of electricity used to refine a gallon of gas". That's an overstatement because it may indeed involve ~6 kWh of energy used in the refining process, but most of that energy isn't in the form of electricity; most of it is in the form of heat energy (heat is required for the fractional distillation process used to refine crude oil), provided mostly by burning natural gas and waste products contained in crude oil.

    The 6 kWh figure is also questionable; I've seen almost wildly different estimates, up to 12.5 kWh/gallon. I remember one source which claimed that the 6 kWh figure applies only to older refineries, and that for more efficient new ones, the figure is around 4.4 kWh. But I won't claim that 4.4 kWh figure is authoritative, since I haven't seen it cited anywhere else.

    The truth is that Big Oil does not tell us how much energy it uses in the refining process, so we can only estimate how much it is.

    Much discussion at the Tesla Motors Club on this subject: "How much electricity to produce gasoline?"

  16. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    Folks - there are a lot of different kinds of oil. There is sweet crude, and sour crude. There is deep water drilling, and fracking. There are a lot of "wells" that require super-heated steam - requiring billions of BTU's per day (some of it coming from solar power!) - just to loosen the oil and make it even possible to pump up out of the ground. This extraction takes a LOT of electricity - like being the second largest use of electricity in California.

    Tar sands is also very energy intensive - the energy ROI is only about 15:1 as I understand it. Pumping dilbit (diluted bitumen) through a pipeline is quite difficult. They dilute it with cheap gasoline - and that gasoline has to be made, to just get the tar sands bitumen to "flow" through a pipeline.

    Finding deep water oil takes years, and a lot of energy to even find. Then, building a deep water drill rig takes about 2 years, and it has to be towed to the site. The special drilling mud (well casing?) is non-trivial, and drilling the well takes a long time, too.

    Making ethanol apparently is an energy loss - it takes about 70% more energy to make it, than you get back out of it.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  17. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

  18. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    There is a lot of FUD, sure.
  19. Baekacaek

    Baekacaek New Member

    Does the article mention lithium mining and battery waste? That’s one thing that complicates the matter. Energy wise, EVs are more efficient, yes. But being more “green” also factors in things like disposing depleted batteries, which ICE cars don’t have to worry about.
  20. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    I believe old ev battery packs are recycled.
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  21. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    Look at the life cycle study - which includes all the energy inputs.

    EV's are MUCH better for the environment. Especially if you are using renewable energy, but even when you are using fossil fuels to make the electricity.
  22. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    There is always going to be some a**holes in a special interest group that will cry foul by making numbers look as they want.
    It is amazing how stupid people are as a whole. The fact that "are they better for CO2 emissions?" thing is still kicking around is proof of that.

    So the nex salvo is "what gets done with those batteries at the end of their life?" a legit question but doesn't show that ice cars are better.

    walking is better.
    Pushmi-Pullyu likes this.

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