Rising gas prices may over-shadow electric car study

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    Gas prices around the university, in Fort Worth and all over the country have risen daily. If this trend continues there may be an increasing demand for hybrid and new electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.

    This seems as if it would be good for environmentalists, but a study by Christopher Cherry, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, may refute the notion that electric cars are better for the environment. Cherry’s study takes into consideration that the electricity that powers the cars comes from a power grid dependent on fossil fuels to produce that electricity.

    “Electric vehicles are only as good or bad as the power sector that recharges them,” Cherry said.

    Sophomore theatre major Mark Laird has a Honda Civic Hybrid and took its low impact on the environment and fuel efficiency into consideration when he and his parents purchased the car, Laird said. 

    Laird said he had heard of studies that showed the environmental issues with hybrids.

    “‘Does it pertain to the battery?’ That actually did surprise me when I heard that,” Laird said. 

    Upon hearing about the study on the zero-emission electric cars, Laird said, “I guess that sucks. But as far as the fuel economy goes, you’ve got to love that advantage.”

    TCU Energy Club President J.B. Litterer disagrees with Cherry’s study.

    “[A] coal fire plant is better for the environment to produce our electricity and use in our electrical cars than gasoline would be,” Litterer said.

    As far as the future of fuels, natural gas is the best option moving forward, Litterer said. With a need to reduce dependence on foreign oil, domestic natural gas offers a clean burning fuel that can be found here in the Barnett Shale and all over the country, he said.

    Without access to that natural gas or other alternative fuels yet, university students must continue to rely on gasoline. In Fort Worth, the average price for a gallon of regular gas Wednesday was $3.56, an increase of more than 50 cents since Christmas Day,according to GasBuddy.com.

    Junior journalism major Evan Stelly recently purchased a Nissan Pathfinder, an SUV that costs $65 to fill up, Stelly said. 

    “I definitely have to think twice before I drive out to Dallas to visit my friends,” he said.