There has been a lot of recent hope and praise for the future of electric motor vehicles. President Barack Obama has said that when he gets out of office in “four and a half years” that he will purchase and drive a Chevrolet Volt.
I am in favor of alternatives to gasoline-powered automobiles and our current president. However, there are a couple of things that I believe that should be discussed.
Where is the electricity for electric cars coming from? Unless I’m living in Western New York, where the power comes from Niagara Falls, the electricity that will flow from the outlet to my electric car once I plug it in will most likely come from a coal fired power plant.
Yes, your vehicle itself may not burn fossil fuels, which will help reduce the number of air polluters. However, the power plant that provides the electricity that would charge your electric car’s batteries more than likely burns coal. The tail pipe of your automobile would be replaced with the smokestack of your local coal fired power plant.
There would be an increased demand for power at the outlet, rather than pump. The perceived benefits of taking x number gasoline fueled vehicles off the road would be replaced by x amount of vehicles powered from the same coal fired power plant, x amount of tailpipes replaced for one large smoke stack. The reduced amount of money paid at the filling station would be replaced with an increased home electric bill.
Electric automobiles may very well be a part of the solution of weaning this country off of the dependence of foreign fossil fuels, but not the sole solution. Electric automobiles should be part of a larger country-wide energy policy that places more windmills in suitable areas and solar panels on roofs everywhere, in addition to mills placed in rivers and streams to produce free (after costs of equipment and installation) electricity from the flowing winds, solar rays and waters.
Not everyone will purchase an electric automobile, but if one tenth or even one quarter of the driving population is behind the wheel of an electric automobile, that correlates to the same amount of gasoline powered automobiles off the blacktops and if coordinated correctly, a reduction in net greenhouse gasses.
Regardless of anyone’s particular political persuasion, one must recognize that the current administration has not sufficiently addressed our country’s energy needs. This can be attributed to “energy state” Democrats and Republicans, or even lack of leadership from Pennsylvania Avenue. Electric automobiles will not be the sole solution to our country’s energy needs, but they can be apart of the total solution.