Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
David asks: Has anyone every published energy economy comparisons for vehicles based on BTUs/mile? This would make it easy to compare EVs with real vehicles. PS – Your column is great! I have yet to read anything that I really disagree with. I’ve been tinkering with motor vehicles for about 70 years now. First one I remember was replacing the throw-out bearing on a 1936 Chevy 2-door sedan. This is back when the owner’s manuals gave detailed instructions on how to set the valve clearances (tappets).
My reply: EVs are being marketed in a very disingenuous manner. For example, the EPA rates them according to something called “MPGe” – Miles Per Gallon Equivalent – an inscrutable number derived via an arcane process of drawing a quasi-equivalence between MPGs (as for IC powered cars) and kilowatt-hours consumed to travel “x” distance. The MPGe figure makes the EV’s “mileage” seem stupendous in relation to an ICV car because it’s typically triple digits (e.g., “105 MPGe”).
But the MPGe figure is a poor measure of efficiency. It also doesn’t tell you much about what it costs to fuel the EV, especially since it leaves out the motor fuels taxes paid by everyone else.
One way to understand the fraud is to consider how many BTUs are contained in say 5 gallons of gas opposed to what it takes in terms of batteries to store the energy equivalent.
The resultant comparison would not make an EV look good – which is why it’s not made!
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