California’s electric car boom reduces emissions – but not everywhere

Kettleman City, CA - Jan 29, 2022: Many cars charging at a Tesla Supercharger station. Supercharger stations allow Tesla cars to be fast-charged at the network within a hour.

Electric vehicle use is increasing in California

Shutterstock/Sheila Fitzgerald

A rise in the number of electric vehicles in California seems to have increased fine particulate matter air pollution from power plants, even as CO2 and other types of air pollution have decreased. An analysis found disadvantaged communities, which are least likely to own electric vehicles, are most likely to see an increase in pollutants in their neighbourhoods.

“[Electric vehicles] are only as clean as the underlying electric grid,” says Jaye Mejía-Duwan at the University of California, Berkeley. By adding to demand …

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