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Al Roderick
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A Corolla or Cobalt or something is definitely a better comparison for capacity and capabilities, but 22 MPG is the average of all personal transport vehicles in America, and so they went that way. It's not just SUVs throwing it off, the number of big pickup trucks used for combined business and personal transportation by trades and contractors tends to wreck the curve a bit. As for the smokestack issue, a million electric cars powered by a coal plant still produce less CO2 than a million ICE cars; big engines are more efficient than small, and get more usable energy per carbon atom released. Steam engines like those found in coal plants burn their fuel more completely and emit less unburned fuel into the waste stream. The reason why they're not in cars and trains anymore is that they have a lousy power-to-weight ratio; it sucks for a vehicle, but is of no consequence for a building. For the particulates and other noxious chemicals, there are technologies for reducing and recapturing those, many of which have been in service for years, and they're easier to implement on one giant tailpipe that never moves than on a million little ones with weight limits. And don't forget, electricity doesn't need to be trucked to market.