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New Study Shows Electric Vehicles Can Have Significant Climate and Air Quality Benefits Compared to Gasoline Cars

A new study from the University of Minnesota shows that plug-in electric vehicles have both an air quality and global warming emissions benefit when they are charged using electricity generated from natural gas or renewable sources. However, the research finds that using electricity from coal-fired power plants in an EV is likely to have worse emissions than an average gasoline vehicle. This result isn’t surprising, but it’s also important to put in context. Many regions in the US use very little coal to generate electricity and the fraction of electricity in the US produced from coal has been dropping – meaning many EVs are delivering emissions benefits today and have the potential to deliver even more in the future.

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Fuel Cells vs Plug-ins: Both are Winners

Often when I’m talking to people about plug-in and fuel cell electric vehicles, I’m asked, “which one is going to win?” Trying to divine which type of vehicle will be more prevalent in the future is impossible, but thankfully it’s not really important to know the answer. That’s because both types of electric vehicles, fuel cells AND plug-ins, will be important solutions to reducing emissions and oil use. To help explain why we need all types of electric vehicles, UCS has recently produced a fact sheet: “The Importance of Both Battery Electric and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles.Read More

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5 Facts About Nissan’s Battery Manufacturing Plant

Just recently, I came back from a visit to Nissan’s headquarters to talk to them about the Leaf. While there I was lucky enough to get a tour of their battery manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee. Here are some surprising facts I learned, along with a video of their whole process: Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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What Happened at the LA Auto Show? Small SUVs, Hydrogen Cars, and 2015 Fuel Economy Gains

Before Thanksgiving, my colleague Lucy and I toured the LA Auto Show. While we confirmed many trends I identified in my previous post, three things stood out: fuel cell vehicles are gaining attention and momentum, small crossover SUVs are racing to market, and some redesigned 2015 models are offering up some significant fuel economy improvements compared to previous models. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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Is the Hummer Back? How Falling Gas Prices Impact Clean Vehicles and Transportation

Gas prices are falling! Gas prices are falling! The average price of a gallon of gas near me in Washington, D.C. is $3.10 and the national average has dropped to $2.92. While this is good news for drivers in the short term, this dip also presents an opportunity to avoid a potential lag in reducing emissions from transportation by doubling down on increasing fuel economy and advancing electric vehicles. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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Top 9 Technology Trends to Watch at the 2014 LA Auto Show

The annual LA Auto Show opens this week with announcements from numerous automakers planned for Wednesday and Thursday before the first public day on Friday. I’ll be headed down to the show to check-out what automakers have to offer and see how 2015 is shaping up in terms of fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles. Read More

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Hyundai-Kia, the EPA, and 100 Million Reasons to Take Fuel Economy Seriously

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Hyundai and Kia would be fined $100 million for violation of the Clean Air Act. This fine stems from the two companies submitting inflated fuel economy test results to the agency for over 1 million vehicles, resulting in an under-reporting of their respective global warming emissions.

The facts of this case were known prior to when we crowned Hyundai-Kia the “Greenest Automaker” in May, so this announcement does not change our automaker rankings. However, it does have important implications for the industry as a whole. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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The Day After: What the Mid-Terms Mean and How To Move Forward

While this morning’s headlines naturally focus on the change in leadership in the U.S. Senate, nothing in the results should change anyone’s mind on these clear truths: we know Americans trust science, support cutting global warming emissions, and want help for communities struggling with the very real consequences of climate change.   Read More

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Policy Matters: Why Clean Fuels Forecasts Come Up Short

Cellulosic biofuel facilities are opening this year to much fanfare and a renewed promise that we can look forward to a quickly increasing supply of clean, non-food biofuels. At the same time, forecasts about the future of cellulosic biofuel have recently gotten more pessimistic, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a plateau once these first plants open. What to believe? I use a simple model to show how progressive, consistent clean fuels policies will lead to lower costs over time. Read More

Categories: Biofuel, Vehicles  

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How Clean Are Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles?

Long planned and anticipated, the first production-version hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) are rolling out and more are on their way. Mass-market models from Honda, Hyundai and Toyota are in the works. They are an important solution — along with plug-in electric vehicles — for reducing our carbon emissions and achieving our goals of putting more zero-emission vehicles on the road. As I have written before, FCEVs have advantages of greater driving range and faster refueling. Questions arise, however, about just how clean these vehicles are if the early models rely on hydrogen produced from natural gas — a fossil fuel. Read More

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