Change is difficult. Changing from major things that have shaped and become a part of our lives is even more difficult. No matter how positive the change appears to be, and no matter how many credible testimonials you see, making the change yourself is still difficult.
The future of cars is electric; make no mistake about that. Over half of all new car sales in Europe are already electric … and the number is growing. Because of their deadly air pollution, even India and China are converting as fast as they can to electric, which lowers the price even more.
However, the U.S. is an oil-based country. We grew up watching our parents fill our gas tank, and repair our gas-powered car. And to suddenly say that what we’ve done all our lives no longer makes sense is difficult. Sometimes, it requires a “kick-in-the-butt.”
My mother was a smoker. She swore she could never quit. Then one day, her doctor said she’d contracted Tuberculosis. While her doctor said there was no necessary cause-and-effect relationship between her TB and smoking, my mother quit smoking … instantly!
Well, since the Supreme Court said that corporations could function as individuals, which gave rise to the “super-PACs,” and various corporate groups who have made significant contributions to political candidates to gain their support. Here’s a major outcome which you might see as the “kick-in-the-butt” you may need to change, for the better, how you drive.
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Trump and Big Oil Want to Pull the Plug on the Electric Car Market
Mar. 28, 2019
Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0
By Grant Smith and Bill Walker
President Trump’s proposed budget for 2020 would eliminate the federal tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles. The oil industry is backing the proposal, as well as a bill to impose a “user fee” — that is, a tax — on drivers of electric vehicles and trucks.
Big Oil is panicked by the looming end to the domination of the U.S. transportation system by the internal combustion engine. The fear is justified.
A few years ago, the oil industry was shrugging off the threat of electric vehicles, predicting that EVs would reach only 5 percent of global market share by the mid-2030s. Other analysts were far more bullish, projecting that EVs would have up to a third of the market by that time.
According to EnergyWire, EV sales in the U.S. grew by more than 80 percent last year. Energy Innovation expects EVs to make up to 75 percent of sales by 2050 — more than 15 million electric cars and trucks a year. Big Oil may be trying to slow the shift but can read the writing on the wall: Oil companies are investing heavily in startups building electric vehicle charging stations.
EVs are already cheaper to drive than gas guzzlers.
Comparing a fully electric Chevy Bolt to a car that gets 25 mpg at $2.50 per gallon, the Illinois Citizens Utility Board found that the Bolt would cost almost $800 less to drive per year than the conventional car.
And they’re going to get much cheaper to buy. The price of batteries for EVs dropped by 80 percent from 2010 to 2017.
As that trend continues, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts the costs of buying and operating an EV will be cheaper than comparable gasoline-powered cars by the middle of next decade.
That’s a win-win for the climate and for public health. Here’s why.
- EVs are essential for fighting climate change. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), almost one-fifth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions comes from cars and trucks — 19 pounds of emissions for every gallon of gas burned. To head off the worst impacts of climate change, we must not only switch to renewable energy sources to generate electricity but also slash tailpipe pollution. UCS says an electric vehicle is responsible for fewer emissions than a car that gets 80 mpg.
- EVs save lives. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, vehicles kill 53,000 people annually prematurely from particulate or microscopic soot pollution. The California Energy Commission says putting five million EVs on the road — about one-third of the vehicles currently on the road in the state — would save $640 million in health costs from reduced air pollution.
The oil industry and other supporters of ending the EV tax credit say they’re only trying to level the playing field. But …
Compare the EV tax credit, which currently
totals about $400 million per year,
to federal subsidies to the oil industry,
which total $4.6 billion a year.
Let’s end taxpayer handouts to the likes of ExxonMobil and Chevron instead of penalizing car buyers who want to save money, lives and the planet.
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In case you’re not familiar with the details, the EV tax credit is for 30% of the cost of the e-car, with a maximum of $7,500. As there are many e-cars available in the $30,000 range of cost – with SMART car less and Tesla model 3 a bit more – that means you can have a new e-car for only $22,500.
E-cars also cost a fraction to maintain – no spark plugs to change, carburetors to clean, mufflers to replace, etc. We spend $230/year for our SMART car’s maintenance. (I chuckle when I see ads for car repair maintenance, as none of the examples shown apply to e-cars.)
So – forgetting about the positive environmental contribution, cleaner air, lack of oil spills that pollute our oceans, etc. – driving electric is simply a more pleasurable and less expensive way to go. (In my case, I also have photovoltaic panels, so while plugging in to your existing home may cost 25% of the per-mile cost of gas, I pay absolutely nothing to drive my e-car.)
The old argument about “range” also no longer applies. California’s electric highway that goes from Mexico to Canada has recharge stations no more than 40 miles apart. And once you stop to recharge, hit the restroom and get a cup of coffee, you’re already 80% recharged.
But – if Trump and Congress enact laws that put e-cars at a significant disadvantage – you may lose much of the financial advantage that now exists. So … if you’re even remotely thinking about switching to driving electric, now is the time to do it. $7,500 is a reasonably big “kick-in-the-butt.”
Just as my mother felt a lot better after she quit smoking, you’ll feel a lot better about driving once you’ve made that change.