No, EVs are Not Worse for the Planet

April 5, 2024

Summary:

  • Electric cars reduce driving costs and pollute far less than gas-powered cars.
  • The political culture war surrounding EVs intersects with climate policy, labor politics, and misinformation.
  • Polls show broad support for transitioning to cleaner energy, but public opinion on EV programs specifically is divided.
  • There is a misconception that electric cars are worse for the environment, but studies show that EVs have lower emissions over their lifetime compared to gas-powered vehicles due to zero tailpipe emissions and cleaner energy sources.
  • Despite challenges with mineral extraction and sustainability, EVs are a crucial part of reducing pollution and transitioning to cleaner transportation options.

If you have somehow managed to escape the frenzied political headlines about electric vehicles, first I envy you and second, I must regrettably inform you that the EV has become an acronym of partisan rancor on par with IVF, DEI, and CRT. There’s a lot of reasons for this electric car culture war: President Biden has made EVs central to his climate and economic policies. They intersect with labor politics and growing tensions with China. And cars remain a symbol of American freedom, so the idea of regulating them is an easy boogeyman for Republicans who want to exploit the rural-urban divide.

It’s tempting for climate policy people to just ignore the car culture war, given the fact that electric vehicles will almost certainly, inevitably, dominate the auto market in the near future because of automakers themselves. “Sometimes when these debates happen,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said recently on Fox News, “I feel like it’s the early 2000s and I’m talking to people who think we can just have landline phones forever.” So true. And yet, EV misinformation is only going to increase from now until November so it’s worth paying close attention to public opinion around electric cars and trying to set the record straight.

That is the thinking behind a new report on EVs by Potential Energy, a nonprofit marketing firm that works to support climate action. So, are most Americans down on electric cars? No, but the margins are tighter than you might think.

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Read the full post at Legal Planet.

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