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Collapse of I-95 Caused by Gasoline Truck Fire (Not Tesla Or EV Fire)

There were 209,500 vehicle fires in 2020 in the United States, and 630 civilian deaths from those fires.

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For years, we have seen misleading anti-EV hype about electric vehicle fires, especially about pretty much any Tesla fire anywhere. Data have consistently shown that gas car fires are far more common than electric vehicle fires.

“The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that in 2018, a total of 212,500 vehicle fires caused 560 civilian deaths in the US,” we wrote here on CleanTechnica in 2021. “The NFPA reported that on average, there are around 14,070 fires annually that are caused by spontaneous combustion or chemical reaction. … According to this NFPA report covering data from 2005 through 2009, 1,150 of these spontaneous fires were vehicle fires.”

Vehicle fires are indeed a big problem in the US. “In September 2021, The NFPA published a report titled Fire Loss in the United States. The report stated that in 2020, local fire departments responded to around 1.4 million fires in the US. In total, these fires caused 3,500 civilian deaths and 15,200 civilian injuries were reported. Property damage was estimated at just under $22 billion.

“According to the report, vehicle fires accounted for 15% of the fires, 18% of the civilian deaths, and 11% of the civilian injuries. According to the data, there were a total of 209,500 vehicle fires in 2020, with 630 civilian deaths.”

The fact is: conventional gasoline-fueled cars are filled with and power by an extremely combustible liquid. (It’s not called an “internal combustion engine” for nothing — the problem is when that internal combustion becomes external combustion.)

“Vehicle fires are an often-overlooked part of the fire problem, yet in 2020, an estimated 209,500 vehicle fires (15 percent) caused 630 civilian fire deaths (18 percent); 1,700 civilian fire injuries (11 percent); and $5.2 billion in direct property damage (24 percent). More than half of the vehicle property loss resulted from a July 2020 naval ship,” the Fire Loss in the United States report states.

So, regarding that horrendous fire that took down a portion of I-95 in recent days up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: it’s still unclear what triggered the fire, but what is known is that it was not an EV fire, not a Tesla fire — it was a tanker truck fire. In fact, it was a tanker truck that was carrying combustible cargo — a lot of gasoline for conventional gas-powered cars. “Officials said the tanker contained a petroleum product that may have been hundreds of gallons of gasoline,” ABC News reports. “The fire took about an hour to get under control.”

Where are the headlines that we should stop driving gas-powered cars immediately? Where are the stories explaining how dangerous it is that we drive gas-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs and even transport the highly flammable fuel in big trucks at high speeds on normal vehicle highways? Where are the claims that we need to stop the sale of gas-powered cars immediately? Where are the arguments that we should genuinely, deeply consider whether we should stop driving gas-powered vehicles ASAP? Where are the headlines about how many gas-vehicle fires occur a year and how many people die from gas-vehicle fires each year in the USA?

Featured image, digital representation of the I-95 fire, courtesy of DALL·E.

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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