Recently I was in the market for a new car and I had been searching for research comparing the relative harm of EV vehicles versus petrol vehicles. The New York Times published an article comparing the two last week that came to one conclusion that honestly shocked me.
Obviously, EVs are better for the planet than gas vehicles especially considering the emissions they emit. The research proves it. But it also proves not all EVs are being created equal.
The first thing that consumers must understand is that massive electric pick-ups are no better for the environment than small gas cars. The EV Hummers, for example, use the same amount of batteries as three small EV sedans or ½ the battery power needed for an EV bus. Without limits to the size of the batteries, large EV trucks are no better for the environment than small gas cars. Perhaps limits are needed.
The research indicates that if one thinks they are helping a warming planet to cool by buying an EV, be careful because everything EV is not necessarily good for the planet. Yes, trading a huge petrol truck for a similar EV truck will help the environment but trading in a small gas sipper for a huge EV truck is a wash at best. Buying a big EV truck has the same environmental impact as buying a Kia Soul, the car I ultimately purchased.
It is worrying that in the frantic rush to EVs, we may do more harm than good. About 61% of our electricity in the nation is produced by fossil fuels. Mining for rare earth metals is certainly not good for the environment. If these new truck EVs have three times the batteries as EV cars, then they must suck up three times the electricity which, I repeat, is mostly fossil-based. The new EV trucks are heavier than their gas counterparts mainly due to battery weight.
It is also important to note that trucks are the number one selling category of vehicles in the US so they are going to build millions of these massive EV vehicles. Trucks are huge profit makers for US automakers. One must wonder. Are we trading one vice for another? Is it worth it?
Additionally, EVs do not pay road taxes, another area that must be addressed. The free ride must end because all of us that don’t have EVs are paying for the roads EVs ride on. The electricity used by EVs must be taxed to pay for the roads so add that in as a future expense. People that can afford Teslas should be paying road taxes now.
I don’t feel guilty about buying a small gas sipper. EVs are too pricey and don’t work for me where I live but I am doing no more harm than all those millions and millions of huge EV trucks that are coming.
I am not opposed to EVs but I do think consumers must be aware of the research so they don’t make a mistake buying an EV truck that may be no better for the planet than the gas sipper they traded in on it.
Dudley Thompson lives in Girdletree, MD., population 106. He was born, raised, and lived most of his life in Baltimore. He worked for the News-American on the advertising side until it closed in ‘86. His second career was teaching in juvenile jails for the Maryland State Department of Education. He holds a Masters in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University, ‘77, and a B.A from the University of Maryland,’74.