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USA Today Gets it Wrong – The Benefits of EVs Are Real

USA Today recently published a misleading opinion article on electric vehicles. The author, Bjorn Lomborg, claims that electric car benefits are “just myths” repeating many arguments he has made before and to which we at UCS have responded. Through a combination of cherry-picking data, bizarre assumptions and just plain false information, the author asserts that electric vehicles (EVs) produce more air pollution and similar global warming compared to efficient gasoline cars today and dismisses the potential to clean-up the nation’s electricity grid in the future.

Our own analysis shows the opposite. EVs do in fact provide climate benefits today, and electric vehicles powered by a cleaner electricity grid are a key strategy in cutting our nation’s oil consumption and reducing the threat of climate change. Read More

Categories: Fossil Fuels, Vehicles  

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The Potential for Clean Fuels in Washington

When I think of Washington State, I think of e-commerce (Amazon), aviation (Boeing), and poorly timed interceptions from one of my alma mater’s finest (too soon?). Yet Washington has a strong reputation as a leader on clean energy too, with one of the cleanest electricity grids in the nation. Washington also has one of the highest rates of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the U.S., and is home to biofuel companies that are turning local crops and used cooking oils into low-carbon fuel for our cars and trucks. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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Why Electric Vehicles Matter in Georgia (and your state too!)

Electric vehicles (EVs) are crushing it in Georgia. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. EVs cost less to fuel, are fun to drive, and can greatly reduce your environmental footprint – especially when paired with sources of renewable energy like solar or wind power. Read More

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Here are the Top 5 New Clean Cars for 2015 and 2016

In the market for a new vehicle that can save you money on fuel while reducing global warming pollution? Here are some clean vehicles I recently checked out at the Washington, D.C. auto show that are coming to a showroom near you. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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Let the Engineer Speak: On Scientific Free Speech and the Harassment of Experts

Last week, Minnesota engineer and planner Charles Marohn received a letter notifying him of a complaint of misconduct filed against his professional engineering license. Was Mr. Marohn accused of a misstep in his professional engineering practices? No. Rather, the complaint concerned Marohn’s writings on his website, Strong Towns. Read More

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How Oregon Can Fill Up On Clean Fuels

Something big is brewing in Oregon. No, it’s not a new IPA from Portland-based Bridgeport Brewery—though that sounds delightful. It’s the next phase of Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program, a forward-thinking regulation that requires transportation fuel to get steadily cleaner on average, ultimately achieving a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions per unit of fuel in 10 years. Extending this rule is a big deal because approximately one-third of Oregon’s greenhouse gases come from transportation, and Oregon has the in-state resource potential to produce significant amounts of clean fuels. Read More

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Dear Chrysler: 5 Reasons Oil Prices Shouldn’t Affect Fuel Economy Standards

Lately, low gas prices have been making headlines across the country. Having dropped by more than $1.50/gallon over the last 6 months, there is certainly reason to be talking about them. So it was no surprise when the topic came up at the North American International Auto Show earlier this month in Detroit. The CEO of Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, used the opportunity to call for rolling back vehicle fuel economy standards. This is perhaps not surprising from a CEO who also tells people not to buy his company’s electric cars and who’s company has scored last in 6 out of 7 UCS Automaker Rankings. But his statements on fuel economy appear to be as volatile as oil prices. Just a couple of years ago he stood up with the President and supported the new standards. Read More

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The Latest on Biofuels and Land Use: Progress to Report, but Challenges Remain

Carbon pollution caused indirectly by the increasing use of crops to produce biofuels has been a contentious topic for the last 7 years. In this post I look back at what we have learned since then about indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions, as this phenomena is generally called. The headline 7 years ago – that crop-based biofuels are far worse than fossil fuels – no longer holds. Read More

Categories: Biofuel, Global Warming, Vehicles  

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President Obama’s State of the Union: What to Expect, and What to Hope For

In his State of the Union speech next Tuesday night, President Obama is expected to focus heavily on challenges like economic inequality and international terrorism. But he is also likely to address at least some of the issues that UCS works on directly, such as climate change and energy. Here’s a quick take on what he may say on these issues, as well as some things he should say, but probably won’t. Read More

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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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