It’s been true for a while that advancing battery technology is a critical part of the development of cleaner cars. As Tony Posawetz, vehicle line director for the Chevy Volt said at the recent Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards, “We will electrify the future. Batteries have gotten better but consumers have gotten more demanding.” While some experts have projected that the batteries of the near future may be literally assembled from dirt, it’s true that today’s devices have some amount of toxicity to them, and some environmental concerns. Still, widely circulated concerns over the impact of batteries are overblown. The Daily Green recently received an email from Kathryn Mayer, a reader who said she is considering buying a 2011 hybrid Hyundai Sonata. However, she had second thoughts after a friend asked her: what would happen to the battery at the end of its life? The friend’s argument was that, because hybrids (and electric cars) have bigger batteries than conventional gas cars, shouldn’t that mean the batteries are more toxic? Shouldn’t that mean the environmental benefits of driving a hybrid are canceled out?
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Sarah Goodyear wrote a great article for Grist which is a really great online website about the environment but for people that have a black version of green. Sarah writes: If you’ve spent any part of today sitting in traffic — not unlikely, if you live in a car-dependent part of the country — you might be encouraged to hear that we may have hit something called “peak travel” in industrialized nations. That idea has been pinging hopefully around the blogosphere, after the release of a recent study that shows vehicle miles traveled have declined relative to GDP in the United States and seven other countries — and this was before the recession.