Green Fleet

New Rules Say Electric Cars Not 'Zero Emission'

April 01, 2010

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's new fuel-efficiency rules for automobiles released April 1 undercut the auto industry's marketing claim that electric cars are "zero emission" vehicles, and instead score against them carbon dioxide emitted by electric-power plants, according to an administration official, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The new rules will still provide "generous credits" for electric or plug-in hybrids that automakers will be able to use when calculating the average fuel economy and greenhouse-gas emissions of their fleets, a transportation official told WSJ. But electric vehicles will no longer be counted as zero emissions, as a draft of the rules released in September had indicated they would.

The change is to "recognize that there are indeed emissions associated with producing electricity," said a senior Transportation Department official who helped draft the rules, according to WSJ. "The electricity that's coming out is coming from sources that are fired by a whole bunch of things," including nuclear and coal-fired power plants, the official said.

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