Thirsty hybrid and electric cars could triple demands on scarce water resources

Mar 10, 2008
Electric Car
Electric and hybrid vehicles could raise water consumption in the United States. Scientists are reporting that cars driven with electricity consume about three times more water than those with gasoline. Credit: Courtesy of Austin Energy

Eco-minded drivers in drought-prone states take note: A new study concludes that producing electricity for hybrid and fully electric vehicles could sharply increase water consumption in the United States. It is scheduled for the June 1 issue of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology.

In the study, Carey W. King and Michael E. Webber note that policy makers often neglect the impact that fleets of hybrid and electric vehicles could have on already-scarce water resources.

They calculated water usage, consumption, and withdrawal during petroleum refining and electricity generation in the United States. Each mile driven with electricity consumes about three times more water (0.32 versus 0.07-0.14 gallons per mile) than with gasoline, the study found.

“This is not to say that the negative impacts on water resources make such a shift undesirable,” King and Webber emphasized. “Rather this increase in water usage presents a significant potential impact on regional water resources and should be considered when planning for a plugged-in automotive economy.”

Source: ACS

Explore further: Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Partnerships drive new transportation solutions

Oct 27, 2014

Hybrid car sales have taken off in recent years, with a fuel-sipping combination of electric- and gas-powered technologies that simultaneously deliver energy efficiency, low emissions, and strong performance. ...

Recommended for you

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

22 hours ago

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

Dec 20, 2014

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2008
"cars could triple demands on scarce water resources" or maybe not. Not news but agitprop inappropriate to Science, Physics, Tech, Nano NEWS.
drivin98
1 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2008
This "study" makes all kinds of illogical assumptions. It seems like the outcome was a foregone conclusion, but hey, it makes a great headline, no?
Serg
2 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2008
You have to ask who sponsered King and Webber's research-- the oil companies themselves,the oil lobbyists, or the think tanks sponsered by the oil companies and lobbyists. Not citing the source of your fundding is highly unethical. In this article they don't cite it at all.
HeavyDuty
not rated yet Mar 10, 2008
Calculations based on what data? Where, when and how were the input data determined? There are conclusions here with no hint of how they were determined... I thought this site was for science news, but I detect no science in this item!
DrPhysics
not rated yet Mar 11, 2008
Oil company sponsorship or Greenpeace. They would like nothing more than to revert back to bicycles. The hybrid was a stop-gap to no cars.
1bigschwantz
not rated yet May 05, 2008
Who says the oil co's sponsored this?
I think its another example of panic by the enviros because we are acutually doing the things the've been screaming that we should do, but now their issue (evil Internal combustion). may actually dissapear.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.