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Electric Vehicles vs Gas Vehicles

Updated: Mar 26



There has been a big push around the world to transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and away from gasoline powered vehicles. The percentage of EVs sold in the U.S. in 2023 was 7.6%, up from 2% in 2020, about a 250% increase in just 4 years. Much of this was affected by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the most significant legislation to address climate change in U.S. history. 2 


The rest of the world is moving even faster toward EVs. Globally, almost 20% of new car sales were EVs in 2023. Norway leads the way with more than 80% of new car sales being EVs. (So much for the argument that EVs won’t work in cold weather!). China is in a major transition as well. There is concern that China may overwhelm the American car industry the way the Japanese did in the 1970s. The market share of EVs in China is now around 33% and growing. Of course, the quality of the Japanese cars of the 1970s forced American car companies to improve, which they did. The same will happen with competition from the Chinese. American cars will get better and cheaper. 3 


Another point of resistance to EVs lies in the argument that they really do produce more fossil fuel emissions than internal combustion engines on the manufacturing side of the equation. That is true. But that is only part of the story. Because EV’s do not produce gas emissions during their use, they make up for this deficit within 1-2 years. No gas fill ups and no oil changes every 5000 miles. Gas powered cars produce pollution AND CO2 emissions through exhaust coming out of tailpipes. Electricity is also much cleaner and cheaper than gasoline, especially if its origin is clean such as wind, solar and water. As we remove coal mining from the equation, this will drive us to cleaner energy options. The bottom line is that EVs, even taking into consideration the energy required to mine and produce lithium batteries, ultimately produce less fossil fuel emissions than gas powered cars.4 


One final objection I hear about EVs is that there is not enough lithium to produce all the batteries needed to transition to EVs. The world currently mines about 500,000 metric tons of lithium a year. By 2030, we will need to mine 3 million metric tons if we are to keep pace with the expected demand.5  Currently most lithium comes from Australia, Latin America and China. However, there have been large deposits found in several locations around the U.S., including the largest deposit in the world on the border of Nevada and Oregon. This deposit found in the clay soil of the McDermitt Caldera, will be much easier and cleaner to mine than those deposits found in harder rocks and salt water brine. The environmental and geopolitical advantages of this lithium mine will be a real game changer for America. As deposits are located, mining techniques improve and lithium battery life increases, the EV industry will grow and help the world move to cleaner transportation options.6 


The largest producer of fossil fuel emissions in the world is the transportation industry, creating a whopping 28% of global emissions. If we are going to address climate change and protect the air we breathe, a move toward EVs is the best option currently available to us. If you drive an EV, you are probably already an advocate. If not, perhaps its time to check out the possibilities and take advantage of the incentives currently being offered through the Inflation Reduction Act. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you can take public transportation which is better than driving, or you can walk which is the best for everyone, including yourself. Have a nice walk! 


Sources

(Sources for this essay are listed below, but I am most indebted to the great research done by Karen Dougherty at Unheating.com) 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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