Biofuel's Water Problem

Electric Cars and Water

Driving an electric car in the United States instead of a conventional vehicle would, on average, consume twice as much water and require 12 times as much water to be withdrawn. The hefty withdrawals are required primarily to cool the power plants needed to charge an electric car. (This assessment would, of course, change if a more of the grid’s power came from sources that don’t require water—wind turbines for example.) But don’t fret too much. Although electric cars place an extra burden on water supplies, in the grand scheme of things they can almost be neglected: According to Carey W. King of the University of Texas at Austin, even if all 3 trillion light-duty-vehicle miles were powered completely by electricity, total national water consumption would increase by only 1 percent. —David Schneider

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