Inconvenient Facts

Electric cars sales are up 66% this year.

President Joe Biden promotes them, saying things like, “The great American road trip is going to be fully electrified” and, “There’s no turning back.”

To make sure we have no choice in the matter, some left-leaning states have moved to ban gas-powered cars altogether.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning them by 2035. Oregon, Massachusetts and New York copied California. Washington state’s politicians said they’d make it happen even faster, by 2030.

Thirty countries also say they’ll phase out gas-powered cars.

But this is just dumb. It will not happen. It’s magical thinking.

In my new video, I point out some “inconvenient” facts about electric cars, simple truths that politicians and green activists just don’t seem to understand.

“Electric cars are amazing,” says physicist Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute. “But they won’t change the future in any significant way (as far as) oil use or carbon dioxide emissions.”

Inconvenient fact 1: Selling more electric cars won’t reduce oil use very much.

“The world has 15, 18 million electric vehicles now,” says Mills. “If we (somehow) get to 500 million, that would reduce world oil consumption by about 10%. That’s not nothing, but it doesn’t end the use of oil.”

Most of the world’s oil is used by things like “airplanes, buses, big trucks and the mining equipment that gets the copper to build the electric cars.”

Even if all vehicles somehow did switch to electricity, there’s another problem: Electricity isn’t very green.

I laugh talking to friends who are all excited about their electric car, assuming it doesn’t pollute. They go silent when I ask, “Where does your car’s electricity come from?”

They don’t know. They haven’t even thought about it.

Inconvenient fact 2: Although driving an electric car puts little additional carbon into the air, producing the electricity to charge its battery adds plenty. Most of America’s electricity is produced by burning natural gas and coal. Just 12% comes from wind or solar power.

Auto companies don’t advertise that. “Electric vehicles in general are better and more sustainable for the environment,” says Ford’s Linda Zhang in a BBC interview.

“She’s a Ford engineer,” I say to Mills. “She’s not ignorant.”

“She’s not stupid,” he replies. “But ignorance speaks to what you know. You have to mine, somewhere on earth, 500,000 pounds of minerals and rock to make one battery.”

American regulations make mining difficult, so most of it is done elsewhere, polluting those countries. Some mining is done by children. Some is done in places that use slave labor.

Even if those horrors didn’t exist, mining itself adds lots of carbon to the air.

“If you’re worried about carbon dioxide,” says Mills, “the electric vehicle has emitted 10 to 20 tons of carbon dioxide (from the mining, manufacturing and shipping) before it even gets to your driveway.”

“Volkswagen published an honest study (in which they) point out that the first 60,000 miles or so you’re driving an electric vehicle, that electric vehicle will have emitted more carbon dioxide than if you just drove a conventional vehicle.”

You would have to drive an electric car “100,000 miles” to reduce emissions by just “20 or 30%, which is not nothing, but it’s not zero.”

No, it’s not.

If you live in New Zealand, where there’s lots of hydro and geothermal power, electric cars pollute less. But in America, your “zero-emission vehicle” adds lots of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.

Politicians and electric car sellers don’t mention that. Most probably don’t even know.

In a future column, three more inconvenient facts about electric cars.

Image by Benjamin Marder from Pixabay

12 thoughts on “Inconvenient Facts

  1. One thing not mentioned will be the demand on the electric grid. With more electric vehicles demanding high voltage and Gas/Coal plants shutting down and no new ones being built just solar/wind farms. The demand for electric is going up and the supply is going down. We really need to invest in nuclear to balance everything out.

  2. Most people talking about EV are ignorant of the details. We own a Tesla3 since 2019 and love it. It does save us about $400/month since we don’t have to buy gasoline, but it’s good for only short trips; the long trips take too long with the charging and that will get worse, as more people buy EVs. There are major problems with EV building materials (batteries rare earth minerals and then, disposal) and the power used still must be largely produced from fossil fuels anyway. After doing a lot of research, hubs and I have discovered that fossil fuels are not being depleted and are actually being reproduced by earth much quicker than we were taught. We are not burning dinosaur remains, but plant and other organic remains that continue to be produced due to earth’s brilliant design. We need to make a study of NZ I guess and see if it would be possible to get to that point with “renewables” in the USA. I have my doubts. Thank you for your reporting!!

  3. Please continue producing independent, meaningful content on a variety of current topics. There are many who appreciate it. The current state of “journalism” and the flow / control of information is disconcerting.

  4. This should be main stream media news and the only reason it’s not is to hide the agenda and the lies of the green energy movement…. So shameful how dishonest these people are in the name of greed

  5. I don’t believe there was any mention of the shipping industry’s demand on oil. I don’t know how much the demand is, but it’s bound to be substantial! Thanks, John, for bringing another viewpoint to light…in a calm and rational manner.

  6. Researchers at UC Davis in a published paper will push out the honest Carbon breakeven point to 130,000 miles.

  7. Solar is not clean. Every tree removed for solar panels stops photosynthesis. Everything green collects carbon and converts it to oxygen, they no longer
    seem to teach that. If they are so worried, plant more trees. Time someone says something about this. Another “Inconvenient Fact” the Greens want to
    Ignore. The production of the panels themselves are carbon producing.

  8. Your article has the sentence ““The world has 15, 18 million electric vehicles now,” says Mills. ” Is it supposed to read 15.18 million?? or some other number?

  9. Good story John. What is the difference in the energy cost of building a conventional, internal combustion powered vehicle and an EV?

  10. All rediculous forget about the lithium batteries for electric cars The forever battery solid state battery will start the electric car revolution 1000 miles on a 10 minute charge no worries about catching fire like lithium batteries These batteries r the size of a deck of cards instead of taking up the size of entire trunk They will power air planes & big trucks & Pres Biden is planning to electrify all govt vehicles within next few years & is already installing thousands of charging stations throughout the country using these forever batteriesThe price of an electric car will be reduced by 15 to 20 thousand dollars & the additional gas savings will make this a bargain

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