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American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- March 5, 2008



Thirsty hybrid and electric cars could triple demands on scarce water resources
Environmental Science & Technology

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, a semi-monthly journal.

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. AD

The Water Intensity of the Plugged-In Automotive Economy


Michael E. Webber, Ph.D.
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas
Phone: (512) 475-6867


Researchers develop more computer-aided drug design
Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling

Researchers in Germany report an advance toward the much awaited era in whic

Contact: Michael Woods
American Chemical Society

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