Here is the latest reader question, along with my reply:
Bruce asks: I just listened to your podcast with Tom Woods. When you got to talking about electric cars vs. gas-powered cars I kept waiting – but never heard – the most important point: Electric cars are basically coal-powered. We expect government and media to miss (or not mention) this, and the vast majority of Americans seem to be clueless about it, but energy is not free. I only have a high school education (class of ’68), but transferring energy from a coal-powered electric plant (which most of them are) to your home, where you plug in your electric car, does not make the car “green.” The amount of pollution (if it even matters) does not change. No, it doesn’t come out of the tailpipe, but it does come out of the power plant’s exhaust. There is no free lunch. Whatever scrubbers that coal plants have on them are probably not as clean as a modern gas engine.I’ve been raising this point for at least 30 years, but nobody seems to listen, even libertarians. It is the most crucial criticism of electric cars and until someone can tell me I’m full of crap, it blows the whole “electric cars are cleaner” argument out of the water. It is nothing more than another taxpayer-subsidized, politicized boondoggle like corn-alcohol fuel and solar power.
My reply: You’re absolutely right, of course. I’m assuming you’re new to EPautos – and my work – because I agree with you abundantly and have expressed this agreement in my articles many times over the years.
Someone once described electric cars as “elsewhere emissions” vehicles, as opposed to “zero emissions” vehicles. Their emissions are emitted at the smokestack – and also include the production/manufacture of their battery packs.
One must also consider the fact that modern IC engines are extremely low-emissions at this point (see today’s lead article) such that the debate is now over fractional differences in output of the harmful things.
Thus, the new fixation on carbon dioxide.
Which of course IC engines necessarily produce as a byproduct of combustion and which – key thing – cannot be chemically scrubbed or reduced via any means except by burning less gas (or diesel).
It is thus the unanswerable trump card of those who want to End internal combustion.
But unlike other byproducts of internal combustion, C02 isn’t harmful – at least, it does not cause health problems or contribute to smog or acid rain. It is an inert gas and – up till now – has never been classified an “emission.”
But it is being classified as one in order to End internal combustion – to give electric cars an artificial advantage; to force them onto the market.
And yes, I know… the generation of electricity also produces C02!
None of this makes any sense until you realize that the object isn’t “clean air” – much less to lower the cost of transportation for the average person.
It is to control the average person – and make life more expensive for him.
. . .
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