PHEVs Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Potential for Improved Air Quality
Plug-in hybrid cars (PHEVs) could cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 500 million tons a year by 2050 without taxing the electric grid, according to a report issued Thursday by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Among study's key findings were:
According to the press release the analysis is the first to combine detailed models of the U.S. electric system and transportation sector with sophisticated atmospheric air quality models -- accounting for the future evolution of both sectors in technological advances, electricity load growth and capacity expansion.
Researchers used detailed models of the U.S. electric and transportation sectors and created a series of scenarios to examine assumed changes in both sectors over the 2010 to 2050 timeframe of the study.
Three scenarios represent high, medium, and low levels of both CO2 and total GHG emissions intensity for the electric sector as determined by the mix of generating technologies and other factors.
Three scenarios represent high, medium, and low penetration of PHEVs in the 2010 to 2050 timeframe.
From these two sets of scenarios emerge nine different outcomes spanning the potential longterm GHG emissions impacts of PHEVs, as shown in the following table.
Annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions from PHEVs in the year 2050
Researchers drew the following conclusions from the modeling exercises:
- Annual and cumulative GHG emissions are reduced significantly across each of the nine scenario combinations.
- Annual GHG emissions reductions were significant in every scenario combination of the study, reaching a maximum reduction of 612 million metric tons in 2050 (High PHEV fleet penetration, Low electric sector CO2 intensity case).
- Cumulative GHG emissions reductions from 2010 to 2050 can range from 3.4 to 10.3 billion metric tons.
- Each region of the country will yield reductions in GHG emissions.