Let’s Talk “Green” Cars

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Oil spill in Balikpapan, Indonesia

Actually, let’s talk about what’s not a green car. Before I do that, I want say to hybrid drivers that I’m not your enemy and if the best you can do is drive a hybrid or put in LED lights, then great — you recognize this planet is in dire straits and are trying to do something about it.

What constitutes a green car? If I get 15 mpg and you get 30 mpg, are you driving a “green” car? At what mpg is a car green?

The answer is that any vehicle that uses an ICE (internal combustion engine) is not green. Tankers massively polluting across our oceans, acid rain, wars to protect corporate oil interests, oil spills, etc., etc. None of that stops when we drive a hybrid.

Automakers love hybrids. They still use all their traditional ICE machinery, plus they get to make a more complex car by adding an electric motor and batteries. Too boot, they get carbon credits so that they can sell gas guzzlers in California. What’s not to like!

Bottom line, you’ll save on gas and pollute less but you will also enable more gas guzzlers and you won’t stop wars, oil spills, or acid rain. If we really want to move our world environmentally forward, then we have to shut off the FF (fossil fuel) spigot. In order to do that, we have to recognize that we are leaving it on when we drive a hybrid.

The Redford Center

In the past, I’ve often said that hybrids are transitional vehicles, they will help transition us off FF. We are now at the point where EVs (electric vehicles) go over 200 & 300 miles on a charge and that will only get better — it’s time to make the transition.

How many times do you take trips during the year? Does it justify a hybrid? Charging stations are growing and right now it’s not a problem if you drive a Tesla. In fact, right now, my non-Tesla EV can go anywhere I need to. The convenience for us is that we get to plug in every night and have a full charge every morning. The great convenience of an EV is not going to gas stations, which for a high percentage of people makes EVs substantially more convenient and time saving than gas cars.

“My hybrid costs less to buy.”

Are we taking into account the cost of fuel, oil changes, air cleaners, and repairs due to the extra complexity of hybrids? Heard of the Prius’s slipping transmission problem? How about gas? If gas costs $2.75 (right now in my area, it’s up around $3), then for 100,000 miles at an average of 50 mpg you spend 100,000/50×2.75 = $5,500. At $3 it’s $6,000. Did you add that on? What if gas goes back up to $5 a gallon? How cheap is your hybrid then at $10,000 over that 100k miles? When you buy a gas car, you are always the pawn of the FF industry.

You can buy a 2018 LWAF for ~$30,000 now and go 150 miles on a charge. A comparable Prius hybrid will cost you about the same, maybe a little less until you add the cost of gas and if you’re like me and charge from your paid off PV (photovoltaic) your EV mileage is free. Not fair? It is fair because an EV affords an opportunity that a gas car can never — utilizing your own power. A gas car will never give you that option. You will always have to fill the tank and even if you have a plug-in hybrid, you can’t let the gas sit in the tank for years or it will go stale, so the engine has to run to circulate fuel and keep seals lubricated because one of the worst things you can do to an ICE is let it sit indefinitely.

Ionity-Charging-Station-3Image: 3 hour charging

Everything we do burdens the planet regardless of whether we drive an EV or an ICE vehicle. EVs just burden it less, much less. Every ICE has platinum, palladium, and rhodium in its catalytic converter.

EVs and their batteries are technologically rich. To evaluate them, we must remember that they will only improve, become more environmentally safe, and get cheaper, just like your big-screen TV. A vehicle with an ICE in it will only improve so much. An ICE is a heat engine with hundreds of parts that all have to be manufactured, transported, and assembled. They also have to be stocked for repairs along with antifreeze, oil, air cleaners, fan belts, spark plugs, and hoses every hybrid needs. A hybrid will always be an ICE vehicle with all the destructiveness of ICE vehicles.

It’s time to put the hybrid to rest. It served us until the EV reached the point it is today, but it is not a “green” car. It’s a manufacturers’ dance to prolong their ICE profits. If you have a hybrid, think about going EV for your next vehicle. It’s time to close the spigot.

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