Our world is sick, and humanity is the virus. From mounds of trash thrown into the oceans and landfills to extensive deforestation and poaching, our impact on the only planet we live on as a species progressively grows worse and worse each and every day (no matter how much Trump tries to deny it). A large part is to blame on global warming from the burning of fossil fuels, which have been the primary source of power for centuries. But despite all of the above, each American household owns about two vehicles on average. We’re not saying you should stop driving. What we are proposing is that it is time to, now more than ever, veer course into a world free of gas-powered cars.
Here is why: According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector makes up about 27 percent of our global warming emissions–a sizable chunk of the roughly 5,170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released by the US in 2016. A little bit of pollution might not seem like very much on such a large planet, but these gasses are measured in doses as small as parts per million (or even parts per billion) of atmosphere. For reference, the EPA stated, “one part per million is equivalent to one drop of water diluted into about 13 gallons of liquid (roughly the fuel tank of a compact car).” Since some of these gasses stay in the atmosphere for several thousands of years, they have a serious impact on global warming due to the greenhouse effect, regardless of their smaller relative size.
For every one gallon of gas you pump into your car, you put a staggering 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other toxic gasses into the atmosphere.
But really, your own vehicle can’t make that much of a difference, can it? Yes, it can. The Union of Concerned Scientists states that for every one gallon of gas you pump into your car, you put a staggering 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other toxic gasses into the atmosphere. A good five pounds of that may be out of your hands from the extraction, production and delivery of fuel, the rest is coughed up by your vehicle. Depending on how a couple different factors, your ride to work each week could cost your weight in pollution. Plus, your lungs care. The American Lung Association of California reported, “each tank of gasoline used in the 10 ZEV States [California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont] is estimated to cause $18.42 in health and climate costs.”
While the Prius started the motoring revolution, hybrids just don’t compare when it comes to a clean power grid. As Elon Musk conveyed, “a world 100 percent full of Prius drivers is still 100 percent addicted to oil.” Speaking of Musk, the discussion of electric cars wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Tesla founder’s work. After taking ten years to go from underdog to smashing success story, he released the second part of his “master plan” to state, “we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.” Tesla believes that electric vehicles are the key to supporting an environmentally-friendly future, and the facts back them up. Assuming the grid power is 100 percent clean and renewable, electric vehicles give off exactly zero greenhouse gas pollution on while on the road.
Other car companies are following Musk. At the recent LA Auto Show, there were more electric car presentations than ever. Besides the already all-electric options from Chevy, Toyota, Nissan and BMW, Volkwagon presented three electric vehicles (including a revamped mini bus). Jaguar also presented futuristic, enivormentally-friendly rides alongside lesser known Bollinger and a startup luxury electric vehicle maker called Lucid. Musk is so serious about creating a better future for our planet, that he’s letting anybody use Tesla’s patents for their sustainable technology, as long as they are in good faith. “Every compelling [electric vehicle] on the road is a win for Tesla,” he stated at last year’s LA Auto Show.
Yet, despite all the evidence against gas-fueled cars and the 13 EV choices on the market, we are nowhere close to driving gas emitting cars to extinct. Out of 17 million new cars sales in the US last year, only 60,000 were electric. Myths people lean on to avoid investing in the environment are aplenty–one of which is a lack of larger EV options. For those who aren’t so keen on tight spaces, a compact BMW i3 may not be too tantalizing. There are eight electric SUVs coming to the market by 2020, including a Mercedes. Some also assume that because electric is of the future, it must expensive. They’re Wrong. EVs are cheaper than other cars and continuing to get cheaper. The average price for an EV went down 11 percent in 2016. Having an EV means no weekly gas fill-ups and no more pricy part replacements because EV motors only have one moving part (that’s no spark plugs and no air filters to worry about).
Many potential consumers instantly veto the thought of purchasing an all-electric vehicle because of the charging necessary and a battery life that many insist won’t last as long as needed. To put it all in perspective, the best-selling Chevy Volt only has a battery life of 420 miles. Hypothetically speaking, if one drives from San Fransisco to Las Vegas, a distance of over 500, they will have to find a charger–at one of the only 16,000 public charging stations in the entire country. Good news for the environment and bad news for big oil: Oil giant, Shell, just bought Europe’s largest and most revered EV charging providers, NewMotion. When a multinational oil and gas company is slowly moving away from oil reliance, we can’t fathom a greater sign of what’s to come for the car industry.
India, France and Britain are all planning to ban the sale of gas-powered cars, so eventually we predict the United States will have to follow–California is already made clear that they’re considering it. Bottom line? Even if you don’t want to make the change, change is inevitable and necessary. We encourage you, at the very least, to consider making your next car purchase an environmentally friendly one.