Centralized large-scale production from coal is quite clean, possibly cleaner than small-scale portable production from gasoline (don't forget to include the mining and refining of one vs. the other). Tough laws, a huge budget, and full-time professional maintenance all contribute.
No matter how clean it is there's going to be CO2 emissions, but that's true no matter where you convert hydrocarbons into energy...it's the entire nature of the process.
Cheaper, yes...cleaner? no! It's definitely widely accepted that cars charged with coal have dirtier emissions (CO2 or not!) than those using gasoline, at least when you compare a Prius 100% gasoline vs. a Nissan Leaf on 50%+ coal..
Originally Posted by SentraSE-R
Actually, it's nowhere near as simple as you claim. San Francisco PUC and Alameda Power get their electricity from Hetch-Hetchy's hydroelectric plant. PG&E and Southern California Edison get the majority of their power from natural gas, but significant chunks of about 15% each come from nuclear, hydroelectric, and wind/solar.
So, northern California includes Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, where their electricity is primarily hydroelectric-generated?
According to the link you referenced, the Volt is "only 'green'" in a lot of other places besides northern California and the northwest. Southern California, Nevada, Texas, and Florida have natural gas generation as their primary source of electricity. That's green, too.
Other states where 50% or more of their power (ergo Volt green) comes from a combination of nuclear, hydroelectric, and gas include Illinois, New York Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, and more. In short, the vast majority of the US population.
You should read my latest post in this thread. California actually doesn't have the cleanest power, the north west holds that title. I thought they did but they really don't because of all the natural gas. Nuclear is only a fraction of our energy production. Surprisingly enough, 1 nuclear power plant supplies like a 1/4 or 1/6 of california's energy needs, or at least according to the link I posted earlier in the thread.