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Over the course of their lives, do electric cars create more or less toxic pollution than standard cars?

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Politicians are subsidizing and have begun mandating the use of electric cars while claiming that they are "zero-emission vehicles." While electric cars have no tailpipe emissions, a 2021 paper in the Journal of Cleaner Production found that the manufacturing, charging, and disposal of electric vehicles increases "fine particulate matter formation (26%), human carcinogenic (20%) and non-carcinogenic toxicity (61%), terrestrial ecotoxicity (31%), freshwater ecotoxicity (39%), and marine ecotoxicity (41%) relative to petrol vehicles." The study found that the lifetime CO2 emissions of electric cars are 48% lower than that of standard cars, but CO2 is an inert gas that has no toxic effects in humans until concentrations exceed at least 6 times the level in Earth's atmosphere.

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