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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Study: Electric cars pollute more than ones that run on gasoline

Chinese study: electric vehicles create bigger dent in environment than gas-burning ones

French engineers Xavier Degon (R) and Antonin Guy poses with their Citroen C-Zero electric car in Strasbourg, eastern France on February 11, 2012. The young engineers start today an "electric odyssey" a 200 days trip over the world with more than 25.000 km through 17 countries including Russia, China, Japan and United States, to demonstrate that electrical cars can be used in any situation. AFP PHOTO/FREDERICK FLORIN (Photo credit should read FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture taken on December 20, 2011 shows new Renault electric cars Twizy Z.E, on a test track, at the Ile S?guin test centre for electric vehicles in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris. AFP PHOTO FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

While electric car sales now outnumber those of conventional gas vehicles two-to-one in China, fine-particle pollution has increased as the “green” cars’ popularity has increased.

Researchers found that generating the electricity used to power an electric car releases more pollution into the atmosphere than burning gasoline to drive. Particulate matter is a fossil-fuel byproduct that includes acids, dust, soil, organic chemicals and metals. The impact an electric car has on the environment is similar to that of a diesel bus, according to the study.

University professor Chris Cherry, the study’s lead research, told England’s Daily Mail newspaper that his study tested “an implicit assumption … that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles.”

More than 85 percent of electricity in China is produced from fossil fuels and coal.

Cherry and his graduate student tested the air in 34 Chinese cities. They found that air pollution in an urban areas with a higher concentration of electric cars is more harmful to human health.

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