Car Wars: Hydrocarbons, Lithium, and the Greening Grid (CounterPunch)

New battle lines are being drawn in the auto industry over electric vehicles vs gas-powered vehicles.
March 26, 2024
From Openverse


  • Electric vehicle sales are on the rise, reaching 10% in 2023 and causing concern among traditional petrol companies.
  • The debate over whether electric vehicles are better for the environment than gas-powered vehicles continues to heat up.
  • The transition to electric vehicles is inevitable as more countries plan to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.


  • But as Europe and others plan to ban the sale of gasmobiles by 2035 (2040 for gasoline-fuelled trucks and buses), the issue is whether EVs are bad for the environment: dirty versus clean, noisy versus quiet, armed global supply chains versus local microgrids. Few will be left unbloodied in the fight as we begin the revolution revolution and anoint new kings.
    • We can discard the obvious, that EVs produce as much pollution as gasmobiles because the grid is dirty, albeit elsewhere at the source, i.e., the fossil-fuel power plants that prime most of the electricity supply. That would be true if the grid was 100% brown, but those days are gone. Last year, global grid capacity was already 10% green (800 GW) and could become 100% green by 2050. Some countries such as Denmark (wind power) and Norway (hydroelectric) are already almost 100% green, where EV sales are rocketing. True, Norway still extracts oil and gas from lucrative North Sea stores and hydropower has green issues, but Norwegians no longer burn fossil fuels to fuel their grid.
  • As noted by environmentalist Jonathan P. Thompson in The Land Desk newsletter, “If the media paid as much attention to oil and gas mishaps as it did to clean energy calamities, it wouldn’t be able to cover much else.” Aesthetic issues are also concerns. I wouldn’t want to live next to a wind farm, but most are located away from homes. I wouldn’t want to live near a coal plant, oil well, or petroleum refinery either. Unfortunately, millions of Americans live near such sites.
  • During the 2018 running of the London Marathon, NOx emissions decreased by 89%, highlighting the effect of tailpipe pollution that directly contributes to the premature deaths of about 40,000 Britons each year, roughly the same number who ran the marathon.

Read the full post at CounterPunch.

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