We forget where we heard it first, but we've always liked the argument for plug-in vehicles that they are able to get cleaner over time. Whether it's through installing solar panels on your roof or taking advantage of Tesla's solar-powered Superchargers, with an EV it is possible to make the electricity you use to power your EV cleaner. It's much harder to do with with a gas guzzler – and that's why an announcement by President Obama today about a new climate change strategy that would put limits on pollution being spewed from coal-fired power plants could be a boon for plug-in advocates.
Cleaner electricity reduces the power of the long-tailpipe argument. That's the argument that says that just because an EV doesn't emit any CO2 doesn't mean there is no CO2 being sent into the air when an EV drives down the street. Nissan has had its own clever response to those who try to make EVs sound as dirty as gas cars, and this sort of response will only get stronger if Obama convinces the country that "[America has] a vital role to play," in leading the world on climate change and we clean up our electric grid. Details were not discussed, but the President did say in 2009 that the US would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent (based on 2005 levels) by 2020. The President said that there are currently no limits on carbon emissions and that, "It's not right. It's not safe. And it needs to stop," which means some are already calling today's speech part of a "War on Coal." What the President's speech wasn't was a war on fossil fuels, since Obama said the transition fuel we should be focusing on is natural gas, which comes with its own set of issues. President Obama's 21-page Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution is available here.
There are no limits on carbon emissions. "It's not right. It's not safe. And it needs to stop," Obama said.
In related news, the Supreme Court agreed today to hear to hear a case that could revive a rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would limit emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from coal power plants in 28 states where the pollution blows into neighboring states. In short, you could say, the long-tailpipe argument is getting national attention.