Plug-in hybrids would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, says new study

Plug-in hybrid vehicles, long extolled here at Grist HQ, seem always to elicit one question from doubters: Wouldn’t running cars on electricity just mean more emissions from power plants? Answer: No! According to a new study from the Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council, widespread use of plug-in hybrids — which can travel up to 40 miles before using any gas, and can exceed 100 miles per gallon — would significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, regardless of the energy source. Even if only 20 percent of U.S. drivers owned a plug-in by 2050, says the study, annual emissions would drop by 163 million tons. And if most Americans made the switch, the effect would equal removing about a third of the cars on U.S. roads. The study also dismissed the fear that plug-in technology would overload the grid. In sum: plug-ins — though unlikely to be commercially available for a few more years, and probably pretty spendy when they do arrive — are the shiznit.