A picture taken on December 20, 2011 shows new Renault electric cars Twizy Z.E, on a test track, at the Ile S?guin test centre for electric vehicles in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris. AFP PHOTO  FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images) A picture taken on December 20, 2011 shows new Renault electric cars Twizy Z.E, on a test track, at the Ile S?guin test centre for electric vehicles in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris. AFP PHOTO FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)  

Air-quality study: Electric cars out-pollute gas engines

A Chinese study found electric vehicles in China are creating a bigger dent in the environment than gas-burning vehicles.

While electric car sales now outnumber those of conventional gas vehicles two-to-one in China, fine-particle pollution has increased as the “green” cars’ popularity has increased.

Researchers found that generating the electricity used to power an electric car releases more pollution into the atmosphere than burning gasoline to drive. Particulate matter is a fossil-fuel byproduct that includes acids, dust, soil, organic chemicals and metals. The impact an electric car has on the environment is similar to that of a diesel bus, according to the study.

University professor Chris Cherry, the study’s lead research, told England’s Daily Mail newspaper that his study tested “an implicit assumption … that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles.”

More than 85 percent of electricity in China is produced from fossil fuels and coal.

Cherry and his graduate student tested the air in 34 Chinese cities. They found an increase in air pollution in surrounding areas with a high concentration of electric cars.

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