Are people finally starting to catch on to the fact that electric vehicles are a terrible idea? I hope so. Bjorn Lomborg makes the case in accessible form in the Wall Street Journal. To begin with, EVs don’t even save much on CO2 emissions:
Over its lifetime, an electric car does emit less CO2 than a gasoline car, but the difference can range considerably depending on how the electricity is generated. Making batteries for electric cars also requires a massive amount of energy, mostly from burning coal in China. Add it all up and the International Energy Agency estimates that an electric car emits a little less than half as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered one.
What does that up to, in terms of climate?
If every country achieved its stated ambitious electric-vehicle targets by 2030, the world would save 231 million tons of CO2 emissions. Plugging these savings into the standard United Nations Climate Panel model, that comes to a reduction of 0.0002 degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
On that basis alone, the left’s mania to make us all drive electric vehicles is insane. But from there on, the story is all negative:
Electric cars’ impact on air pollution isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The vehicles themselves pollute only slightly less than a gasoline car because their massive batteries and consequent weight leads to more particulate pollution from greater wear on brakes, tires and roads. On top of that, the additional electricity they require can throw up large amounts of air pollution depending on how it’s generated. One recent study found that electric cars put out more of the most dangerous particulate air pollution than gasoline-powered cars in 70% of U.S. states. An American Economic Association study found that rather than lowering air pollution, on average each additional electric car in the U.S. causes additional air-pollution damage worth $1,100 over its lifetime.
Worst of all, the materials needed for all of those batteries are controlled by the Communist Chinese Party.
On top of all that, the cost of the materials needed for EV batteries is skyrocketing, so that EVs will be even less cost-competitive in the future than they are now:
The International Energy Agency projects that if electric cars became as prevalent as they would have to be for the world to reach net zero by 2050, the annual total demand for lithium for automobile batteries alone that year would be almost 28 times as much as current annual global lithium production. The material prices for batteries this year are more than three times what they were in 2021, and electricity isn’t getting cheaper either.
Despite massive subsidies, together with efforts by many governments to force consumers to buy electric vehicles, consumers aren’t buying. Much as wind and solar energy have failed to satisfy more than a tiny fraction of America’s energy needs, electric vehicles remain a footnote:
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that barring new legislation only about 17% of all new U.S. cars will be electric by 2050, which translates to 13% of the total American car stock.
Left-wing governments are on a collision course with normal Americans. Governments want to force Americans to rely on wind and solar energy, but those sources can’t keep the lights on and are ruinously expensive. Similarly, governments want to force us all into electric vehicles, which are not as functional as gas-powered vehicles, despite being more expensive. And they are a net detriment to the environment. Lomborg is optimistic, perhaps more so than I am:
As consumers continue to vote with their wallets against electric cars, it is hard to imagine places like California continuing to demand that they can purchase only electric ones.
I don’t know; I can imagine it. Our masters seem to relish making our lives worse.
STEVE adds: Interested readers might like to take in my recent “Piercing the Electric Car Fantasy,” which goes into further detail on some of these problems with EVs.