West Virginia coal miners help tourists push dead EV

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Coal miners in Tucker County push an electric car after it ran out of charge near their mine (Courtesy: WBOY via Randy Smith)

(NewsNation) — Tourists driving an electric vehicle through West Virginia’s coal country ran out of power on Friday. Luckily, a group of nearby miners were on hand to help push the car, according to a state lawmaker who shared the story on his social media.

Photos of the miners’ efforts have since gone viral on social media, with many noting the irony of the situation: fossil fuel workers coming to the rescue of renewable energy.

But there’s a chance you haven’t heard about this story. That’s because 83% of news outlets that reported on this story lean right, according to NewsNation’s partner Ground News, which monitors coverage based on media bias. Only two centrist media outlets reported on the good Samaritans’ actions, according to Ground News’ Blindspot report.

Tucker County’s Republican state Sen. Randy Smith, who works at the mine near the spot where the car broke down, shared the moment in a Facebook post that has since been shared thousands of times.

As Smith tells it, tourists were traveling from Washington D.C. to Davis, West Virginia in an electric vehicle when it “ran out of juice” right in front of the Mettiki Coal access road on US 48, several miles from Davis.

After noticing the dead vehicle, a group of coal miners helped push the EV to a nearby guard shack so it could be plugged in to charge.

Smith pointed out the irony of the predicament: “So here are five coal miners pushing a battery car to the coal mine to charge up.”

“This just shows you coal miners are good people and will go out of their way to help anyone friend or foe,” Smith wrote. “I’m honestly glad they ended up where they could get some help because they couldn’t get a tow truck to come and this is out in the middle of nowhere.”

Smith added that one of the men gave a “Friend of Coal” license plate to the EV driver before he went home.

Last year, coal accounted for about 22% of all the electricity generated in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — significantly less than in 1990 when 52% of electricity was generated by coal-fired power plants.

Policymakers in Washington D.C. and car manufacturers are preparing for a future where most vehicles on the road are electric, but recent evidence suggests the EV infrastructure is still a work in progress.

In August, California lawmakers passed legislation that would ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. Just days later, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked EV drivers to limit charging their cars in order to help the state grapple with energy challenges brought on by a heat wave.

This story is part of NewsNation’s new “Blindspot” initiative in partnership with Ground News to provide readers with contextual, unbiased news they may not find covered by every media outlet.

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