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Letter: Small Gain for a High Cost

To the Editor:

Electric cars use energy generated mostly by fossil fuel power plants. Coal and natural gas power plants burn fossil fuels and emit carbon dioxide, so electric cars are responsible for some carbon dioxide reductions, but not much.

At 12,000 miles per year, a gasoline-powered Honda Civic emits about 7,055 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

The carbon dioxide emissions created to provide the electricity for a Chevy Volt in EV mode would be about 5,748 pounds per year, a reduction of 1,307 pounds per year from the Civic.

The increase in operating costs would be $1,805 per year. The carbon dioxide emission reduction cost would be: ($1,805 per year) divided by (1,307/2,000) = $2,762 per ton. That is a small reduction in carbon dioxide emissions at a very high price. It is totally unacceptable.

Note: Recent market prices of carbon dioxide are $8, $12 and $20 per ton in Europe, California and Australia, respectively.

For detailed calculations, see http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/155681/co2-emissions-and-chevy-volt-vs-honda-civic-ex-l.

Willem Post