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"Output from the U.S. coal-fired generating fleet dropped to 966,000 gigawatthours (GWh) in 2019, the lowest level since 1976. The decline in last year’s coal generation levels was the largest percentage decline in history (16%) and second-largest in absolute terms (240,000 GWh)." ~ US EIA

Here's what that looks like on a chart:
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And what that means for us as EV owners:

Okay, so how does this relate to EVs?
Not only do electric cars not produce any emissions in the process of driving them, but the American power grid is also far more emissions efficient in charging an EV than the oil and gas industry is in the extracting and refining process. And every time a coal plant is closed and a renewables array is hooked into the grid, EV-related emissions get cleaner.

Yes, electric cars are more emission heavy in the initial production process than a traditional gasoline car, especially ones with large battery packs like a long-range Tesla or a Jag iPace. However, as we continue to convert our power grid to more efficient and zero-emissions practices like wind, solar, and hydroelectric that initial penalty is rapidly made up for by a wholesale lack of tailpipe emissions.

Back in February the Union of Concerned Scientists produced a report stating that the average EV charging at an average connection to the grid in the U.S. produces equivalent emissions to a theoretical 50 MPG gasoline car.

Obviously the downside of a reduction in coal is an increase in fracked natural gas, but as the renewable and low-emissions energy grid grows hopefully that will find its peak and downward slide sooner rather than later.

Hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, and nuclear. We have the capability to turn to a massively reduced emissions power grid right now, packed with zero emissions and renewable options. The technology exists today.

Once we get to a zero emissions power grid, the only emission cost for an electric vehicle would be in the initial construction. Wouldn’t that be nice? I do love good news.

 
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