A new study from the American Economic Association (AEA) examines the multi-state impact of electric cars on air pollution. The AEA notes that, while they don’t have the same visual impact of “a gas-guzzling SUV,” electric cars worsen air quality in states as far as hundreds of miles away.
More from AEA:
Electric cars are much cleaner, on the surface at least. They are often billed as “zero emissions vehicles” because they don’t emit any exhaust into the air. But the electricity used to power them has to be generated somewhere, and in certain parts of the United States the resulting power plants emissions might be worse than what’s coming out of the tailpipe.
AEA uses a stark example of an electric vehicle in Atlanta making the air quality worse in northern Maine:
With electric cars (right map), the particulate matter emissions aren’t as severe in any one county. But thanks to the interconnected power grid in the eastern U.S., areas as far away as Minneapolis or northern Maine suffer slightly worse air quality when electric cars in Atlanta power up.
Electric vehicle proponents like Elon Musk receive billions in subsidies from the federal and state governments. Sadly, studies like this and others are showing an inconvenient truth that these very subsidies may be contributing to pollution across the country.