Study finds electric vehicles produce more pollution that internal combustion cars

It’s enough to make a Greenie turn…uh…green.  A new study from the University of Edinburgh finds that electric and hybrid vehicles actually emit more harmful pollution running on streets and highways than conventional vehicles.  It turns out that those “zero emissions” from the tailpipe are only part of the story of the pollution emitted by a vehicle as it travels.  Chris White of the Daily Caller explains:

Electric vehicles tend to produce more pollutants from tire and brake wear, due in large part to their batteries, as well as the other parts needed to propel them, making them heavier.

These pollutants are emitted when electric vehicle tires and brakes deteriorate as they accelerate or slow down while driving. Timmers and Achten’s research suggests exhaust from traditional vehicles is only about one-third of the total emissions.

I will confess that I had no idea that exhaust accounted for only a third of total operating emissions.  But it does make sense, especially because those brake pad and tire particulates are so nasty:

“We found that non-exhaust emissions, from brakes, tires and the road, are far larger than exhaust emissions in all modern cars,” Achten wrote in the study.

He continued: “These are more toxic than emissions from modern engines so they are likely to be key factors in the extra heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks seen when air pollution levels surge.”

A large factor in this weighting of pollutants is the fact that internal combustion engine performance has improved so radically over the past several decades that they actually emit very few pollutants compared to engines of the past.  The internal combustion engine is the most highly engineered product on the planet, having been worked on for well over a century by hundreds of thousands of engineers all over the planet.  They set a very high bar for electric and hybrid vehicles to beat.  The necessity for large, heavy batteries made of toxic materials does increase the weight, complexity, and cost compared to internal combustion vehicles.

And the Edinburgh study does not even consider the environmental impact of manufacturing the complex, heavy, and expensive vehicles, nor does it consider the emissions of the electric generating stations that supply the juice.  Add in these factors, and that “zero pollution” claim becomes a joke.

It is gospel among environmentalists and crony capitalists that electric and hybrid vehicles produce less pollution that conventional internal combustion-powered vehicles  so much so that lavish subsidies, amounting to thousands of dollars per vehicle, are justified, regardless of the fact that the buyers of such vehicles tend to be much richer than the average taxpayers. 

Tesla Model S: Sleek, sexy, and subsidized by you

Joe Sixpack, in other words, is funding the moral vanity of the Tesla buyer in a six-figure luxury vehicle.  And now we have the prospect that the Tesla driver is actually harming the environment compared to his gasoline-powered neighbor.

If you experience technical problems, please write to