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Electric Cars

A University of Edinburgh study found that electric cars emit as many – if not more – pollutants into the atmosphere than conventional vehicles. The difference is in the type of emissions, not the amount

“…don’t try to (do) anything prematurely. Let it…become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James – Message Translation of the Bible)

FOUNDING FATHERS’ PERSPECTIVE

“Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.” (Thomas Edison)

“The bounty to the white-herring fishery is a tonnage bounty; and is proportioned to the burden of the ship, not to her diligence or success in the fishery; and it has, I am afraid, been too common for vessels to fit out for the sole purpose of catching, not the fish, but the bounty.” (Adam Smith)

FACTS

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (John Adams)


◊ The first successful US electric car was created in 1890 by William Morrison. In 1900 electric cars accounted for one-third of all cars on the road; but by 1908, Henry Ford’s Model T, priced at about one-third the cost of an electric car, had ruined electric car sales. Other factors included a lack of electric re-charging stations and cheap gasoline.
Department of Energy, 9/15/14. Matulka, Rebecca. “The History of the Electric Car” 


◊ Interest in electric vehicles (EV) was renewed when the 1973 Arab oil embargo caused gasoline shortages in the US. After several unsuccessful EV releases by various manufacturers, the 1997 Toyota Prius became the first successful, mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle.
Department of Energy, 9/15/14. Matulka, Rebecca. “The History of the Electric Car” 


◊ Today, over 400,000 electric cars have been sold in the US, almost half of which are in California. That equates to less than 1% of the 250 million total vehicles on US roads.


The average EV has a range of 50-100 miles, and would require at least 75 minutes to charge up enough to gain a 300-mile range.


Nationwide, for every 8 gas stations, there is only about 1 electrical charging station, most of which are located on the East and West coasts.

Department of Energy. “Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locations”
Scientific American, 7/15/16. Patterson, Brittany. “Electric Car Owners Struggle to Find a Charge”
Reuters, 1/21/16. Shepardson, David. “U.S. may not hit one million electric vehicles until 2020: official”
24/7 Wall St., 5/22/14. Ausick, Paul. “Why are there 115,000 (or 150,000) gas stations in America?”
Plug in America, 1/31/11. Saxton, Tom. “Understanding Electric Vehicle Charging”


◊ Electric Cars cost on average $10,000 more than conventionally powered cars. However, the Federal Government offers up to $7,500 in tax credits, and many states provide additional rebates to lower the cost.
Nerd Wallet, 7/15/16. O’Dell, John. “Hybrids and Electric Vehicles: Costs”


◊ By 2019, $7.5 billion of federal incentives will go toward electric cars. Tesla alone has received $2.39 billion in subsidies and other incentives though a combination of state and national funding.

National Review, 7/7/15. Kay Melchior, Jillian. “Electric Vehicles Sometimes Create More Pollution than Gas-Fueled Cars”

L.A. Times, 5/30/15. Hirsch, Jerry. “How It Adds Up Three companies, $4.9 billion in government support”


◊ Electric car insurance is 21% higher than for gas-powered cars.
Nerd Wallet, 10/01/15. Cohen, Aubrey. “Why Car Insurance for Electric Vehicles Costs More” 


◊ A University of Edinburgh study found that electric cars emit as many – if not more – pollutants into the atmosphere than conventional vehicles. The difference is in the type of emissions, not the amount.


The extra weight of EV’s large batteries requires extra braking force, which releases more toxic pollutants from the tires and brake pads.


Mining the toxic lithium required for EV batteries is done primarily in China, with minimal environmental safeguards.


Many charging stations have electricity generated by coal: therefore, EV’s recharged by coal emit more greenhouse gases than their conventionally powered counterparts.

Many charging stations have electricity generated by coal; therefore, EVs recharged by coal emit more greenhouse gases than their conventionally powered counterparts.

The Daily Caller, 5/15/16. White, Chris. “Electric Vehicles Emit More Pollutants Than Fossil Fuel-Burning Cars, Says Study”
How Stuff Works, 12/06/10. Roos, Dave. “Does hybrid car production waste offset hybrid benefits?”
DigitalTrends, 11/14/3. Braun, Peter. “Don’t look so smug: Your Tesla might be worse for the environment than a gas car”
Wired, 3/31/16. Wade, Lizzie. “Tesla’s Electric Cars Aren’t as Green as You Might Think” 


◊ The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulation is the government mandate that sets future mileage requirements for car manufacturers. President Obama is requiring a 59% CAFE increase for average car mileage between 2016 and 2025. This favors EV’s.
Car and Driver. November, 2011. Berkowitz, Justin and Csere, Csaba. “The CAFE Numbers Game: Making Sense of the New Fuel-Economy Regulations”


SUMMARY

Electric cars are the product of heavy government intervention into the free market. The main selling points of electric vehicles are decidedly false. Their environmental impact is as bad if not worse than conventional vehicles. Even with excessive federal subsidies, EV’s costs are higher than conventional vehicles. With increased price subsidies and unrealistic CAFÉ mileage requirements, the government is trying to force Americans to drive electric cars. Given EV’s limited driving range, excessive charging time, and the insufficient number of charging stations, the government’s coercive efforts are excessive and premature. They fly in the face of basic economics, waste our tax dollars, and hurt manufacturers of conventional cars. With world oil reserves currently estimated at 1,000 years, the federal government needs to proceed with more patience and less interference in the free market, in their efforts to support the development of a practical and affordable EV for the major vehicle market.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION

Electric car incentives such as subsidies, rebates, and tax credits should be minimized or ended. Biased regulations should be repealed. The free market, i.e. the voluntary association between consumer and producer, should decide when (and if) we drive electric vehicles. If electric cars are the natural, technological progression for society, then they should come about through natural supply and demand, rather than by regulation.

Brief # 22A – December 19, 2016

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