Portlanders are fanatics for hybrid and electric cars (and motorcycles).

2012 Ford FocusFord announced that Portland will be one of the launch cities for the new all-electric model of their Focus later this year. This makes sense, Portlanders love all things hybrid and electric. Heck, you can even pick up an electric sportbike from Brammo down the street in Ashland.

At first, we were excited – electric cars use no gas, right? However, we’d also heard that since coal-based electricity systems have a huge negative impact on the environment, a lot of electric cars’ benefits are burned out. It made us wonder: why do we see so many environment-loving Portlanders driving electric and hybrid cars?

We did a little research. According to DiscoveryNews, if you plug an electric car into your outlet in the U.S., you have a 50/50 chance of being connected to a coal-burning electric system. If you are connected to coal, then the carbon-dioxide output of your electric car equates to that of a gasoline car.

Well, that’s not so bad, right? You might not be saving the environment, but at least you’re not destroying it any more than you would with any other car. Plus, you get the added benefit of having a nice new car that doesn’t smell like french fries (we think biodiesel fumes smell more like french fry farts than they do actual french fries, though).

So, what do you think? Why do Portlanders like electric/hybrid cars so much? Is it the environmental thing, or is it something else?

Source: Ford deems Portland electric vehicle-ready

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2 Responses to Portlanders are fanatics for hybrid and electric cars (and motorcycles).

  1. LauraJane says:

    In my opinion, it’s the environmental thing. While it’s true that the electricity from an electric car could come from coal (and outside of OR, very likely does come from coal), it’s much easier to control those emissions and CO2 than those from a tail pipe. Think of it like point source vs non-point source pollution. It’s relatively easy to mitigate and limit emissions from a couple hundred power plants, particularly when compared with several million cars. Also, as technology advances it’s far more economically feasible to install these advances (and regulate compliance) at at the power plants, than asking millions of car owners to retrofit or changing car manufacturing standards.

  2. Electric Vehicles plugged in to the electric grid in Portland only generates about 20% of the CO2 that burning gasolines does. The Portland area grid is comparably cleaner than most because of the hydro and wind power that we have here. When the Boardman coal plant is shutdown, it will get even cleaner. I drive an EV and it is powered by the solar panels on my rooftop. When I plug in at work, it is charged up with 100% wind power.

    The biggest reason I drive an EV is because I don’t want our country fighting wars for oil. The true cost is far more that we pay at the pump. We used to fight wars for salt, then we found a better way. We used to hunt whales for lantern oil, then we found another way. Soon I hope I can say we used to fight wars for oil and then we found another way.

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