Duke Researcher Notes Hybrids Are Just as Good as Plug-in Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Duke Researcher Notes Hybrids Are Just as Good as Plug-in Hybrids

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Duke Researcher Notes Hybrids Are Just as Good as Plug-in Hybrids

Duke University researchers claim plug-in hybrids, despite how enamored some groups are with them, would not lower carbon emissions any better than hybrids already do.

And they're more expensive to boot.

The paper compares the two hybrid technologies to see which could lead to lower carbon emissions based on several scenarios.

The scenario results vary depending on what author Chris Williams calls a price signal. If federal or regional climate legislation places a limit on the amount of CO2 allowed, it will create a price signal that will drive the electricity sector to become more efficient and less carbon intensive.

Without a CO2 price signal, plug-in hybrids are essentially no better than regular hybrids. With a significant CO2 price signal, plug-ins do make a moderate reduction in CO2 emissions.

When gas prices hit $6 a gallon, plug-ins become cost-effective.

Not surprisingly, certain regions are not suited for plug-in technology in regards to CO2 emission reductions since they have carbon-intensive electricity systems, i.e. coal.

“It’s not a simple equation,” Williams explains in a press release. “Plug-in hybrids save gasoline but consume electricity. In most of the country, electricity generation relies on fossil fuels, which means that plug-ins would lead to an increase in electricity sector fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.”

CCPP is an interdisciplinary research partnership of Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Nicholas School of the Environment and Center on Global Change. CCPP researches carbon-mitigating technology, infrastructure, institutions and systems to inform lawmakers and business leaders as they lay the foundation of a low-carbon economy.

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