Cars II: Electric Boogaloo

By Staff Writer Tighe Ratcliffe.

In Norway, electric cars outsold gas-powered vehicles in March for the first time ever. The question on many driver’s minds now becomes, are we about to see the end of gasoline driven cars? Or are they still going to be commonly used for a long time to come? I’d love to say that yes, the age of fossil fuels polluting our earth is drawing to an end, but I’m a realist, not an optimist.

In 1832, the first “electric vehicle” was developed by Robert Anderson, but it wasn’t till the 1870’s that they became a more viable option.

wThe first gasoline driven vehicle was created in 1885 by Carl Benz. Even though the electric vehicle was created first, the gasoline driven vehicle became the norm.

Given this information, I’m skeptical at best that electric cars will become more popular than gasoline driven ones, especially in a place like America. Norway and the other Scandinavian countries are well known for being pretty forward thinking, not only environmentally, but also with their government, economy, and education systems.

America, as much as we’d like to think we’re better than everyone else, drastically falls behind these countries.

This is especially evident of our current President and his administration, who’ve taken it upon themselves to reverse all the progress that we’ve made in recent years to improve our environmental standings. During his term in office, President Obama signed a bill to force automobile makers to increase their standards to produce more fuel-efficient cars that would produce less greenhouse gas emissions. This was a critical part of his climate change objective, and Trump and his administration have made it their objective to destroy all that Obama did.

Elsewhere though, in countries that are in agreement with the Paris Climate Accord, there might be a hope that electric cars will become more popular. But, Trump backed America out of the Paris Climate Accord. And, our Environmental Protection Agency, you know, the thing that’s supposed to be the division of the government that was designed to “PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT?” Well it’s run now by Andrew Wheeler after Scott Pruitt resigned. This is the same Andrew Wheeler who worked under President George H. W. Bush to defeat climate-related legislation and who was most recently a lobbyist for the the coal industry.

Wheeler has intimate knowledge of how the EPA works, and because he isn’t as “flashy” as Pruitt, the Union of Concerned Scientists said they would be seriously concerned if he was made the EPA administrator. He’s more able to do things under the radar than Pruitt was, making him an even greater threat.

So make no mistake, other countries might be more willing to push their citizens to buy more electric vehicles, but our good ole US of A would be more happy if you bought a cost effective car that got 17-20 mpg than something that could get 200 mpc (miles per charge). And this isn’t even taking into consideration the other biggest market for automobiles, China.

China and the USA are the two largest producers of greenhouse gases, producing more than all other countries combined. Together they produce more than half of all GHG’s. And because many people in China can only afford cost efficient vehicles, this rules out a large portion of the electric vehicles on the market. Electric vehicles might be more environmentally conscious, but very few of them are price conscious, their one true drawback.

Although they are becoming more cost effective, which is a good thing.

According to the Paris Accord, we’d need to cease GHG emissions entirely within the next 5-10 years, otherwise we’ll seal our fate and not be able to reduce global temperature rise of +5o C. And as hopeful as I am that we’ll reduce emissions by that time, I’m confident that wont happen thanks to all the work our current administration has done to reverse the progress that we made during Obama’s presidency.

I can’t discredit the fact that even though electric vehicles were invented before gas powered ones, the fact that they still aren’t more popular I feel is a testament that we still have a far road ahead before we make the switch.

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