2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, El Segundo, CA, Nov 2011
Because although electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles produce few to no emissions of their own while operating, the power they suck from wall outlets and charging stations often does come from fossil fuel plants, leading the Department of Energy to state that the average annual emissions per all-electric vehicle is 8035 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. Yet while CNG vehicles “can produce significantly lower amounts of harmful emissions,” according to the Energy Department, the only commercial vehicle on the market, the Honda Civic GX only saves 25 percent on carbon emissions per mile to its comparable gasoline counterpart.
However, Duoba said that Argonne’s primary goal wasn’t necessarily cutting down on emissions, but reducing dependence on foreign energy sources.
“Various technologies have been successful at reducing the environmental impact (criteria pollution) over the decades,” Duoba wrote. “To the extent that consumption of foreign petroleum has not been reduced to acceptable levels, this could be viewed as the principal motivation.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated in copy to clarify that Argonne is not stopping or reducing its research into electric vehicle technology, but that some researchers are now increasing their focus on compressed natural gas vehicles.
This article, written by Carl Franzen, was originally published on TalkingPointsMemo, an editorial partner of GreenCarReports.