Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Nothing Like the Smell of Toxic Fumes in the Morning....
I passed the poison-belching behemoth as quickly as possible but started thinking, what did I really accomplish? All these other cars that I'm following are spewing hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulphur oxides just like the truck was except I couldn't see it. That's one of the problems with tailpipe pollution, it's mostly invisible so people don't really realize how bad it is to breathe or just think it dissipates in the air. I think if all tailpipe exhaust were visible, like it was on the truck, then people would be more concerned with it and demand change. Just because we can't see the poison doesn't mean it's not killing us.
Electric cars like the MINI-E aren't necessarily emission free. Sure there are no tailpipes but the electricity that was used to charge the batteries was probably generated from burning coal so there is pollution created which will come out of the smokestack of the power plant instead of the tailpipe of the car. However, it is much less than the pollution that you get from burning gasoline. Plus, if you really want to factor in the entire cradle to the grave environmental impact from oil as compared to coal then the difference becomes even more pronounced in the favor of the coal generated electricity. Then there is the fact you CAN make your own electricity like I do with my home solar PV array. This combination makes an EV a true zero emission vehicle. Lets hope the EV + PV combination becomes common in the near future now that electric vehicles will finally be available for sale here in the US. I'm looking forward to seeing less and less tailpipes in front of me as the shift to battery electric vehicles begins.