An electric car is 35% - 97% cleaner than a comparable gas car, including the pollution generated by the electric power plant. The 35% number applies to states using a lot of "dirty" power, such as coal-fired plants. The 97% number applies to states like California that use a lot of "clean" power, including hydro, nuclear, wind, and solar. The Union of Concerned Scientists have presented data on this to CARB.
These percentages are actually lower than reality for several reasons. For one thing, they are based on a new, smog-controlled car in perfect condition and state of tune. In real life, most cars on the road are several years old. Their smog control systems are less effective, or nonexistent. Also, a gas car gets dirtier as it gets old and worn, or if it is out of tune. EVs don't. In fact, as utilities clean up their power plants to meet increasingly strict federal air quality standards, EVs will actually get cleaner.
These percentages are also skewed because they do not compare apples to apples. They compare all the fuel production pollution for the EV to the tailpipe emissions for the gas car. What about the pollution generated by extracting and refining the oil, and transporting it to the gas stations?
During evening hours, California buys hydroelectric power from Oregon and Washington so your EV charged at night is not using any fossil fuels. An EV can be recharged from Renewable Energy electricity sources.
Why would I want an NEV?
It's logical! Sixty five percent of U.S. families own a second car, yet over 50 percent of urban trips last less than ten minutes perfect for NEVs. Eighty percent of all trips are within 10 miles or less in a traditional automobile resulting in cold running motors that translate into excessive engine wear and more pollutants. NEVs are the right "tool" for most of our transportation jobs.
It's easy! Say goodbye to annoying lines at the pump, oil stains, tune-ups, oil changes, radiator coolant, emissions tests, muffler replacements, transmission woes, and many other common headaches of today's "modern" combustion automobile.
It's economical! NEVs offer an alternative to a second car -- initial purchase price, maintenance, insurance and cost of operation represent a very real and stylish alternative to a traditional gas-powered automobile for those around-the-neighborhood trips.