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EVs have emissions, too

To the Journal editor:

The Mining Journal’s “Clean Green Machine” and related EV charger articles were nice, but only tell the rosy side of the story.

If one only looks at electric vehicles (EV) only from the perspective of never having to fill up a gas tank or choking on exhaust fumes, one can easily be fooled into believing EVs have zero emissions. Environmentally, EVs do appear to be a better option than internal combustion engine vehicles.

When one looks at the entire picture, one may see the thorny side of the story. Although the Nissan Leaf may have a fancy “zero emissions” moniker on it, EVs are not completely zero emission vehicles.

The metal ores used in the vehicle and its vitally important electricity storage battery are mined, processed, manufactured into the needed parts, assembled into the final product and transported to the automotive dealership before it is sold to a customer. Petroleum is pumped out of the ground, piped over water and land to refineries to make the chemicals needed for tires and plastics used in the vehicles.

Mining, manufacturing, transportation, construction and assembly were important steps in creating the newer natural gas and solar powered electricity generating plant on Wright Street, and in bringing the new natural gas pipeline from Arnold to Marquette.

Hydraulic fracturing of shale, and all it entails from creating multiple horizontal bore holes per well, fracturing the rock, and installing more pipelines is now an important source for natural gas used to power modern electrical generation plants.

When an EV is plugged in for recharging, that electricity comes from an electric power generation facility of some sort, be it wind, solar, coal, natural gas, nuclear or hydropower. Electricity is transported from power plant to EV through a system of electrical power lines whose installation also involved mining, timber harvest, manufacturing, transportation, construction and assembly.

Greenhouse gas emissions are created and emanated during all those processes leading to the end product EV and the electricity needed to recharge it. Since these emissions are not emanating directly from the EV, these emissions are out of site and out of mind to many EV owners.

The auto industry long ago conspired to run public transportation out of business while preying on the selfish individualism of its customers.

Getting rid of personally owned vehicles and using MarqTran, taxi, or Lyft would have a much larger impact on greenhouse gas emissions reduction.