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The Low Down on Plug-Ins. Are they Really Green?

I've read detailed and usa generic viagra well-researched reports that say that plug-in hybrids will decrease pollution and carbon emissions.

The problem is, I've also read detailed and well-researched reports that say the exact opposite. What is going on here? How could such obviously contradictory reports both be true?

Well, to work out some of the kinks concerning how plug-in hybrids work, I thought I'd make a list of environmental pros and cons:


  • PHEVs use less gasoline. Gasoline makes the world suck more.
  • PHEVs get greener as the buy uk viagra grid gets greener
  • Power plants (which charge PHEVs) are more efficient than car engines, creating more energy per unit of carbon.
  • 500 power plants are easier to regulate than 100 million cars.
  • Power Plants emit less NOx, hydrocarbons and other smog-causing pollutants
  • PHEV technology could allow for an intelligent grid that would allow cars to sell their energy back to the grid during peak demand, decreasing the need for more power plants.
  • PHEV batteries have less environmental impact than current nickel batteries.


  • Power plants produce far more SO2 than cars (especially old coal plants).
  • In areas where coal generates most of the power, PHEVs can produce more carbon than similar sized cars.
  • PHEVs increase electricity demands, which increases coal mining, which is bad news.
  • PHEV batteries are expensive and need a lot of resources to create and recycle.

As you can see, it isn't clear-cut here. In fact, I'm fairly certain that this isn't even a complete list. I'm most influenced by the fact that gasoline hybrids will always remain as dirty as they are today, while plug-ins will continue to get greener as the renewable energy economy matures.

Of course, this assumes that the renewable energy economy will mature. But with 42 gigawatts of renewables planned for the US already, I think that's a fairly safe bet.

Still, I think this is an open debate, which is why I'm unleashing the beta of the EcoGeek forums to discuss this issue. If you've got anything to add, or want to read a bit more about the viagra non prescription controversy, check out the forum topic I just created about it. Hopefully we can all inform each other. No Registration Required!!!

Sources: USA Today and WBCSD


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Comments (12)Add Comment
Focus is only on techno pros and cons. I
written by Terence, March 06, 2008
The reason that the mainstream media love hybrids is because they don't challenge the status quo and medication online viagra they allow business as usual in another form. They are the ultimate techno fix and besides car makers love the idea of selling 100s of millions of them. In others new markets and selling stuff to solve the crisis.

In fact greatly increasing public transport in every major town and city in the world and then making it free would go along way to addressing the crisis today without selling product and would probably move people around cities quicker. The problem is that it upsets the status quo and that's unacceptable.

I guess that I am trying to tramadol order online overnight shipping saying the pro and con arguments need to go beyond the purely technical pros and cons, but to the wider social and order viagra online environmental pros and cons.
written by net97surferx, March 07, 2008
One 'con' arguement I heard once (( I may not get all the 'facts' straight... I leave it to the blog pros... ))

The fancy 'special batteries are made of special materials... the one's which use nickel are from a mine in Ontario Canada... which.. up until the recently, was killing local forests with it's own SOx pollution. Then add in the cost of shipping the metal to an offshore country to process and form the canadian pharmacy metal into the special plates for the batteries.. and ship them back 'in country' to be assembled and used. All that HAS to be figured in to the eco-equations.

And that is not counting that most batteries are only 'good' for 100,000 miles.. so they are only half to only best offers buy generic viagra online a third of a 'car life'. Tossing an entire car of canada pharmacy batteries every 6-8 years can get messy... even with 100% recycling of materials.

I suppose as they improve or switch to 'other exotic' metals & materials, it all changes.. but battery processing should be considered to really look at how an all electric or hybrid stacks against an economy, 30 mpg petro hog.

written by Ian George, March 07, 2008
PHEV is a step between the EV and the straight ICE.

Car makers do not love making them... the US car makers still hate the idea... HEV and PHEV do not turn as much profit for the auto company as a regular ICE car so car companies are against them... but they supply whatever the consumer demands... the consumer is more willing to pay a large mark up cost / profit to the maker on SUVs than they are on HEVs ... also more willing to pay a larger mark up for 200 MPH car than a 200 MPG car.

Any form of transportation has costs... to make it free at the point of use means you pay for it from somewhere else like in taxes. or something... nothing is free.... and why would anyone dump money into a project and then not try to turn a profit?

Canada does supply allot of nickel , but they are not the viagra super active uk only supplier.

The eco equation you speak of for shipping products around would have to be done on an individual vehicle basis... as each one will have variations that will make it different from others... once you try to lump all HEV or all PHEVs together you become very inaccurate.

Eventually you have to decide where you want to stop thinking of the bigger picture which will give a bias to mexican cialis one over the other... there is always more ways to consider it...

As for the batteries... I still don't buy the 100,000 mile bit... My Insight has about 115,000 miles on it and when I took the battery pack apart and tested it each 6 cell subpack was still showing about 6Ah of capacity compared to the original 6.5Ah they have new.... even if I did buy it, while you can and many do drive a car more than 100,000 miles the auto makers want you to buy another car every 5 years or so, so unless you are willing to pay a higher mark-up cost when you first buy the car there is no reasons for them to try to make the car last you longer.

Battery recycling does as well if not better than water recycling from sewage... you take it as far as it is cost effective then you leave the rest for nature to deal with.

Now if done Ian's ways... you use renewable energy to power all steps of the recycling process and you only put back into nature a product in the same form and amounts that you would have got from nature... you make the process a net clean up.

The cleanest and cheapest vehicle is still the cialis non prescription bicycle... if you don't want to bicycle that 10 mile trip each way... put the blame on your own laziness... Me not bicycling ~20 miles each way to work, is my own fault... I don't blame the bicycle company or the government.
Think about what you can do!
written by Tom34, March 07, 2008
If you buy an oil car, you know you'll pollute. :-
If you buy an hybrid/electric car, power plants may pollute or be green. :o

Can I make a better power plant? No. *
Can I buy a better car? Yes.

See U
(*) but I can vote for someone who will ;D
You have some of your Pros and Cons wron
written by Cheap, March 07, 2008
I driven a PHEV for about a year now and let me tell you they are not for everyone. They work best as commuter cars for going to discount levitra online work and back home, otherwise you are just carrying around extra weight for no reason.

PHEV used in V2G plans is a bad idea. Batteries have a limited number of cycles that can be used and every time a city, or power company takes that power they use one more cycle. Also you have to rely on the people to plug in at work where right now there are no plugs. PHEVs need to be charged at night, but not at work so there is no need for infrastructure.

I have been charging with strictly Clean Domestic Wind Energy that off sets my Dirty Florien Oil use. As someone who wants a Plug-in car, I search out the cleanest energy I can find and I believe that most adopters of production PHEVs will do the same, so they will not have the same impact on pollution as people/studies are predicting. Another Pro would be the fact you could use home made energy from Hydro, Wind, Solar, or even bicycle powered home gyms. It sounds Crazy, I know, but I also know of people in California who right now get enough Solar power to run there EV everyday. Imagine never needing to buy consumables for your car again. That is where as a nation we should be heading.

Another Major Pro: I use the money I save on gas and I take my family out to local restaurants, and shops. It is helping my local economy! What if we could take the money we spend on fuel and pump it directly in to our economy. I don’t understand why local small business owners have not figured this yet. They should be screaming to have PHEV brought on line sooner. I may just start some small campaign.

Con: I still have to buy gas. Pro: Nothing makes you want to buy and EV more then driving a PHEV.

Let me know if you want to know more.
written by Jon, March 08, 2008
Your first three cons assume that coal will increase in our electric mix. The exact opposite is happening. Of all the new generation proposed in the U.S. 45% is wind and most of the rest is natural gas. Of the coal plants that have been proposed most have been canceled due to lack of financing, carbon risk, and construction cost escalation.
This assumes NO ONE uses solar panels?
written by David, March 08, 2008
It always bothers me when someone argues that EV cars aren't clean after all because they assume they will all essentially be powered by coal. The problem I have with this notion is these people seem to no prescription tramadol sales forget that other energy sources exist, such as solar and wind.

I would think that someone who goes out of their way to get an EV car would also be very likely to have gone out of their way to have solar panels on their homes as well, thus powering the EVs by the sun.

Worst case scenario in this situation: sometimes the EV will be powered by the sun. Other times by another source. Beats being powered always by a polluting source.

And, companies like Ausra have a very promising future in the potential to power the entire U.S. by solar. The technology is already there, but as we know, politics have the final say, unfortunately. Especially in an administration like our current one.

They are the greenest cars we have right
written by Nick, March 09, 2008
Please refer to the following graph that compares hard calculations about the cost and emissions per mile of gas, ethanol, HEV, PHEV, and EV. All assumptions are included on the graph. Emissions include tailpipe for gas, and stack emissions for electricity. It clearly shows that even in the highly speculative situation of viagra soft generic all coal fired electricity (which will never be allowed to happen, I might add), EVs and PHEVs emit around half the carbon emissions of gasoline. You may have a point about SO2, but the buy cialis overnight carbon emissions claim is simply wrong. PHEVs, and eventually EVs when battery capacity improves is the greenest form of mid-to-long range private transport we have available to us
it's not just the power, it's the timing
written by Nicola Terry, March 09, 2008
I agree that the resources used by batteries is a big issue, which hopefully will improve with time, and I agree it would be far better to get people to use public transport if this were possible.

However, one big problem with renewables is power storage - you can't turn the wind on and off at will and i use it cheapest levitra prescription you can't store it easily if it comes at the wrong time - whereas one really good thing about battery vehicles is power storage. So there is a big advantage for electric vehicles and related technology which allows one to visit our site viagra low price take advantage of off peak renewable sources.
PHEV is a right step for a greener futur
written by Nigel Lam, March 10, 2008
Electric generation will get greener, as more countries "vote" for it. So, most of the Cons with coal-fire generation will hopefully be reduced. With increase demand for electricity, and cultivation of "Green" and Substainablility true EV will become a vehicle of choice.
What would we spend the money on we woul
written by frisbee, March 10, 2008
I guess EV´s wood work out great in means of initial carbon efficiency. Also total transport costs would eventually lower. But I’m afraid that money saved on fuel would be spend on more consumption in other fields of the economy. If this would be investments in renewables I would smile happily, but if the world is to make a switch to EV´s I guess most people would spend the money on other features, which might just as well turn out to be more carbon intensive (like flying longer distances or even buying bigger cars....).
I m afraid the only (at first unpopular) way would be to make work of the best choice buy levitra soft tabs charging carbon taxes. If we would truly consider fossil carbon as poisonous (to our climate) carbon taxing might turn out as our only workable option. Than suddenly most people would love to drive an EV and most people would choose to use renewables as the way to power their EV.
In the meantime I still think we should continue to make cars as efficient as possible. In my opinion EV´s would attribute to that goal.
written by josh, March 22, 2008
Just about everyone here seems to love EVs, what's wrong with PHEVs? The only difference is they have another power source, which could be a biofuel, for longer trips. EVs sound great for commuting, but you would still need something else to take a vacation. PHEVs solve that. Plus, if we all got 100 mpg, don't you think oil companies/producers would just produce less to make sure they don't lose a bunch of money?

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