In recent years, more and more people have become concerned about the impact that our modern lifestyles are having on the world around us. When it comes to creating a greener world, many feel that the best approach is to opt for environmentally friendly modes of transport.
And who can blame them? After all, gas-powered cars are responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. (If you don’t believe us, check out this chart from the Environmental Protection Agency.)
Sure, electric cars may be more environmentally friendly than their gasoline-powered cousins, but that won’t necessarily save the planet. According to a recent report by the Royal Society, the carbon emissions associated with producing one electric car can be the equivalent of between 60,000 and 170,000 km, compared to 5,000 to 20,000 km for a gasoline-powered vehicle.
Those numbers are based on estimates of how much carbon dioxide is produced per mile of travel for electric vehicles and for gasoline vehicles.
From the outset, the idea that electric cars are better for the environment than their gas-fueled counterparts seems like common sense. After all, electricity is a renewable resource, while oil is a non-renewable fossil fuel that releases a ton of carbon into the atmosphere when it’s burned.
While this is true, the benefits of electric cars aren’t as cut and dry as you might think. The lithium used to make the batteries in most electric vehicles is mined in countries like Chile and Bolivia, and then shipped all over the world.
All that transportation uses a lot of energy, which is often generated by burning fossil fuels.
EVs are one part of reducing transportation emissions
As the world economy continues to grow, so will overall transportation emissions. Since transportation accounts for 28 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it is necessary to reduce these numbers.
Though it is important to continue to improve the efficiency of passenger and freight vehicles, it is also necessary to make other changes in order to continue to reduce these emissions.
One way of doing so is to encourage the adoption of elements of a sustainable transportation system (including rail, bicycles, and walking) that have the potential to reduce these emissions. One of these elements is electric vehicles.
There is a lot to be said for the idea that electric vehicles are the future of transportation, not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of environmental impacts. But they are not the only answer to reducing our carbon footprint.
EVs are one part of a much bigger change in the way we move ourselves around. They can deliver significant benefits in terms of lowering transportation emissions, but they cannot do the job alone, much less entirely replace the traditional vehicles we still rely upon today.
Benefits of electric vehicles on the environment
Although it’s a new industry, there is already a lot of buzz about electric vehicles (EVs) which run on electricity rather than gasoline or diesel.
There are many advantages to driving an EV. Not only are you reducing pollution, but you are also lowering your fuel costs.
And according to some experts, driving an EV can actually save you more money than you spent on the car itself. For example, in California you can save money on your taxes if you drive an EV.
Also, the state of California has an EV rebate program that offers cashback on your purchase.
Electric cars may cost more upfront, but they save you money on gas and are better for the environment than their gas-guzzling counterparts.
A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists claims that, in areas where electric cars are available, there is no need to worry about running out of electricity while driving.
The report goes on to say, “No matter how much electricity we add to the grid, we can keep the lights on.”
Some people think electric cars are a waste of time since they are just as bad for the environment as regular cars.
After all, the electric power used to charge the batteries of an electric car has to come from somewhere, and the energy sources that create that electricity are often fossil fuels.
But electric cars are still better for the environment because they have fewer moving (and thus idling) parts than gas-powered cars.
As a result, their engines are smaller, lighter, and more efficient, and they don’t require the same kind of maintenance. And there’s no need for gas stations, either.
Benefits of electric vehicles for consumers
Consumers have been slow to adopt electric vehicles, but there are a number of reasons to be optimistic about the future.
The number of electric vehicles is on the rise, and consumers are starting to realize the many benefits of electric vehicles.
In addition, the cost of electric vehicles is dropping. In fact, electric vehicles are cheaper to fuel than regular vehicles in many places. As a result, the electric vehicles market is poised for growth.
Reusing EV batteries
You may have heard about the idea of reusing batteries from electric vehicles. It is a compelling idea. Reusing all of the EV batteries would prevent the need to mine more materials to build new batteries.
It would also avoid the use of rare earths and many other toxic chemicals. Batteries are expensive, so this would also save a lot of money.
Finally, using EV batteries for energy storage purposes would be a great way to make use of excess solar energy.
Electric cars are not only economical, but also have a positive impact on the environment. They are charged by the power grid, which gets its power from a variety of sources, including coal, hydroelectric dams, nuclear plants, and wind farms. When the power source is hydroelectric or wind-generated, the car is charged with electricity that doesn’t release any greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And if the power comes from a coal-burning power plant, the electric car is cleaner overall than a comparable gasoline-powered car.