Marker blog

Electric vehicles (EVs) have recently attracted significant attention from the media, politicians, and environmentalists, but do EVs really live up to everything their manufacturers promise? Autogas for America released a new Alternative Fuel Fact Brief on November 25, examining the evidence behind the industry’s claims that EVs are viable, cost-effective and “zero-emission.”

The study questions electric vehicle’s environmental record, considering the greenhouse gases emitted during EV manufacturing. It points out that while EVs have no tailpipe emissions, they charge on U.S. electric grids that draw 50 percent of their power from coal. The Fact Brief also casts doubt on the practicality of EVs for public and private fleets, citing the technology’s struggles with limited carrying capacity, limited driving range and the high cost of their charging infrastructure. The study warns that experts believe an increase in EVs could overburden an already strained electric grid.

While electric vehicles hold many benefits over vehicles running on traditional fuels, the Fact Brief encourages consumers to consider other alternative energies which have more verified environmental and economic benefits and a proven record in American fleets.

Marker blog

A few weeks ago, we mentioned the misleading Nissan Leaf commercial that told the story of the gracious polar bear on his quest to thank those who drive green. Apparently Hollywood doesn’t mind that Nissan’s “zero emissions” push might not be accurate, because the commercial has received an Emmy nomination.

While this commercial does make the point that we should be doing all we can for the environment (including lowering emissions), it deceives viewers and polar bears alike. The ad claims the Nissan Leaf is “zero-emissions,” though that isn’t entirely true. Electric vehicles (EVs) may be (or may not be) better for the environment than conventional gasoline vehicles, but all they can claim is zero “tailpipe emissions.” The energy that powers their batteries is produced by a national energy mix that relies heavily on coal. In fact, according to the EPA’s blog, as of 2009, 20 U.S. states generated more than half of their energy from coal; states such as West Virginia, Indiana and Kentucky were generating more than 90 percent of their power from coal.

And the polar bear ad isn’t the only example of Hollywood and the mainstream media pushing alternative energy misconceptions. This Wall Street Journal article interviewing the director of the new Pixar movie “Cars 2” has him superficially remarking about alternative fuels, “Why isn’t everybody jumping on that bandwagon? It makes so much sense: Electricity, solar, whatever. There’s ethanol. There’s all this stuff you could be doing.”

In a way, he’s right – there is “all this stuff you could be doing,” but all his suggestions are currently unviable technologies. However, there are other options that are more viable than electric, ethanol, or hydrogen cars. Domestic alternative fuels such as propane autogas are clean, affordable and American made; OEM autogas vehicles and aftermarket vehicle conversions available right now.

Many alternative fuels are currently too expensive to implement or range and performance issues remain. Autogas is providing fleets the most bang for their buck, with autogas vehicles having up to 90 percent the range of gasoline vehicles and no loss in vehicle performance.

If the media truly wants to support alternative fuel technologies, they should do more research and figure out that EVs aren’t the only ones helping the environment.