If you ever take a logical look at electricity production or the burning of fossil fuels to propel vehicles forward, you see that most of the cost is not paid when purchase that electricity or fuel. Most of the cost comes from the tremendous health problems the resulting air pollution (and climate change, if you are brave enough to include that) creates. As an example, here’s a nice chart the EPA has created showing the cost of the Clean Power Plan (on the right) versus the benefits (primarily health and life benefits):
You almost don’t even notice the bar for the $8.4 billion on the right because of how big the bar on the left is. This shouldn’t be new to anyone, but I’ll give you a pass if you’ve been uninformed up till now but can now see the light (with the smog clearing away).
If you can look at this information, or plenty of articles and studies on the matter (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) and not acknowledge that it makes more sense to clean up our electricity generation system than keep on keepin’ on, then you’re either dumb or biased. Sorry, there’s no way around that. And if you’re so biased (whether that is because you work in the coal industry, have family who work in the industry, or are simply tied to one particularly evil group of politicians and sub-culture) that you care more about maintaining business as usual than saving people’s lives and reducing suffering, then you need to see a psychiatrist.
I actually ran across the above chart on the Tesla Motors Club forum, and the person who shared it there made this insightful comment: “I noticed this graphic and was interested as I have often thought the same things about Tesla and EVs in general. That is, that the benefits to the health budget should offset quite large concessions to move to electric vehicles.” Indeed, here’s another chart from the EPA showing where US CO2 emissions come from:
CO2 emissions aren’t what cause asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks, etc., but a look at health-harming pollution would look similar to the chart above. Transportation would be a huge chunk of the pie. Burning gasoline and diesel kills. It not only kills, but it kills in insidious, torturous ways. It also decreases the quality of the lives we live. And even if we get lucky and don’t end up with lung cancer, asthma, the premature death of a baby, or something else with a comparable label, we still have to live through the nasty smells of this stuff.
No matter how you cut the pie, a shift to renewable energy and electric vehicles makes financial sense. They also make sense for anyone wanting to live in a nicer world.
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