Electric vehicle detractors like to claim that EVs are just as dirty as conventional cars, because most electric power in America comes from coal plants. Yesterday, the EPA proposed new regulations that would reduce power plant emissions by 30% by 2030, making EVs that much greener.
The proposal is actually more open-ended than most, with the EPA calling on all 50 states to develop their own means of reducing CO2 emissions from power plants. The EPA says its proposal contains “sensible” and “reasonable” changes to clean up power plants, though there is plenty of time to discuss specific change changes.
The goals of the “Clean Power Plan” are to help prevent an estimated 6,600 premature deaths every year from air pollution, resulting in cost savings $93 billion in public health and climate benefits. The main aim of the plan is to reduce America’s reliance on coal power, replacing it with cleaner-burning natural gas. The EPA also estimates that the plan will result in customer savings of about 8%, though the unironically-named American Coalition for Clean Coal Power says these rules, in effect, are creating the next American energy crisis.
Of course they would say that, and the notion of coal somehow being green is laughable. The environmental and financial costs of mining and burning coal are tremendous, and there are simply better alternatives out there that the EPA is pushing. Natural gas will end up being the big winner, though even if these suggestions go into place unaltered, America will still get about 30% of its power from coal plants in 2030. Other nations, like Germany and Denmark, plan to be totally reliant on green power by that time, putting America decades behind.
Suffice to say, these rules will result in cleaner air, economic crisis or not, and it will lessen the argument that EVs are somehow “dirtier” than conventional cars because of where their power comes from. Gasoline will always be dirty, but EVs can, and will, be powered by increasingly cleaner and sustainable methods.