Cars. They cost a lot and pollute a lot. One exciting new opportunity to address both these problems are electric cars. They’ve come a long way. Gone are the days when the Toyota Prius was the only hybrid available to consumers.
My interest in this was recently sparked at a gathering I attended of electric car owners and local car dealers on a sunny Vermont evening. The event, put on by Drive Electric Vermont, brought dozens of electric and hybrid vehicles to Shelburne so that those of us who don’t currently drive electric vehicles to get a glimpse of what we’re all missing. Electric vehicles have boomed in the last five years. No matter where your loyalty lies in terms of car manufacturers, there is now an electric car for you.
The car owners at the event had nothing but praise for their vehicles. Their enthusiasm made me wonder, could an electric car be right for me? So I set out to find out.
I recently purchased a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta. I commute a whopping 314 miles every week. Gasoline alone now costs me more than $21 dollars each week. This actually does not sound like much, since I just upgraded from a car that was lucky to get 22 mpg; however, over the course of my 13-week internship with CLF, I will spend close to $300 dollars, just on gas. The average person driving the same commute in an electric vehicle would pay just $11.30 a week, adding up to $146.95 over the course of 13 weeks – not even half of what I’ll spend driving my gas-powered car.
The price of electricity would have to quadruple to even come close to the price of gas, but if those savings are not enough to send you running out to the electric car dealership, the drastic savings in pollution might be. Transportation now accounts for 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Every gallon of gasoline burned emits about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. That means my commute contributes nearly 190 pounds of polluting greenhouse gasses – every week.
Drilling for oil will only become more difficult, risky, and, in turn, costly as we continue to deplete easily accessible reserves. Soon we will have to fill our conventional gas- and diesel-powered cars with gasoline from even dirtier sources, such as the Canadian tar sands. Our continued reliance on resources such as the tar sands will only lead to greater amounts of greenhouse gas warming our climate. Because of the corrosive nature of tar sands, we will likely also experience more frequent and damaging oil spills like the one in Marshall, Michigan, that is now entering its fifth year of clean-up.
The numbers have my brain convinced that my wallet and environmental conscious will be better served by an electric vehicle. Meanwhile the test drives I took really sold my heart on the idea. The electric cars accelerate faster and handle like silent little sports cars. It is truly exciting to have all of that potential energy at your feet with no gasoline to speak of. As far as I’m concerned gas pedals everywhere need to make way for power pedals. With all of that in mind I can confidently pledge my next car will be an electric vehicle.
Already a believer in (and driver of) an electric car? Tell us what you love most about your car by commenting below.