In last week’s article, “Getting Around Gas Prices”, we discussed the changes you can make to save money on gas. We explored small changes such as filling your tires with air, to larger changes like buying an electric vehicle. This led us to the question: why are we still powering cars with gasoline at all?
Why is it that in 2019, knowing what we do about the environment and having access to the alternative technologies that we do, we are still using something so primitive as gasoline for fuel? Some believe it is effectively a conspiracy theory, with Big Oil and Big Auto pulling the puppet strings. And that idea does not appear to be entirely misplaced.
In 2017, CNN published an article titled “Why Gas-Powered Cars Aren’t Going Away”. In this article, they discuss profit as a driving force for why eliminating a gas engine entirely is extremely unlikely. “Traditional automakers are making billions of dollars selling millions of gasoline-powered cars each. No one has yet figured out how to make a profit selling electric-only vehicles.”
In addition to money being a huge factor in the stability of gasoline-powered vehicles, they are actually becoming more efficient. New technology is constantly being developed. These days you can get further on less gas, and the gas itself is becoming ‘greener’, if you will. For some consumers, that is enough peace of mind to disregard the consideration of switching to electric.
Electric Cars: Not Pollutant Free
Electric cars are an obvious alternative to gas-powered vehicles. However, they are not entirely without their environmental footprint either. While they do create fewer pollutants, the only near pollutant-free option for generating electricity would be solar or wind power. Once again, these options are not perfect either, but they are certainly better.
Some people predict that the switch to an electric car should be obvious. Over the past few years, the price of electric vehicles has continued to drop. Additionally, “an electric car costs significantly less to run and maintain than a gas-powered car.” Imagine a life without oil changes or standing in the cold wet weather holding a slimy gas pump… how pleasant!
Getting back to that conspiracy we mentioned earlier… in 2006 a documentary came out called Who Killed the Electric Car? It is about the General Motors EV1, a battery-powered vehicle that came out in the mid-1990s. According to this documentary, there were many players all in cahoots towards the same goal: shut down the EV1. Automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the Federal Government of the United States, the California government, hydrogen vehicles, and consumerism all played a role in the failure and destruction of this vehicle.
What is really amazing is that in the mid-1990s we had an electric vehicle on the market. It was far from what we see today, but it existed and it did not use gasoline. However, due to what was most likely pressure from automobile manufacturers and the oil industry, this car was destroyed. Had it been left on the market, who knows how much closer we would be towards what Volvo aspires for gas-only powered cars to be a thing of the past.