Plugging In

The other day I was walking down the street engaging in my frequent pass time of trying to think of new arguments for views I already hold. "Even if we fully converted to the use of plug-in hybrids," I said to myself, "we wouldn't see an especially dramatic improvement in the carbon situation unless we also made an implausibly large change in how we generate electricity in order to compensate for the higher demand for electrical power." Then I decided I should probably check to see if that was true before I wrote it, which I didn't feel like doing.

Well, what do I read on Gristmill except a post about how I'm totally wrong and there's a new report out from the Electrical Power Research Institute explaining my wrongness in some detail. To make the point qualitatively, though, power plants are much more efficient than are internal combustion engines, so whatever fuel source you use a plug-in hybrid is radically cleaner than a conventional car. Of course, insofar as you use clean energy instead, things get even better, but the switch is a big improvement even without changing the electrical structure.

Photo by Flickr user Mike Weston used under a Creative Commons license