By Joe Angelino
France recently announced they intend to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel powered automobiles in their country by the year 2040. Norway has more ambitious goals and will require the sale of only electric or electric-hybrid plug in cars by 2025. And the 90 year old Swedish named-Chinese owned car company, Volvo, intends to start offering electric engine options in all of their 2019 model line. There are predictions that more than 50% of all light-duty vehicles in Europe will be electric in the next 25 years.
Here in the United States GM announced, just last month, ďthe course has been setĒ to an all-electric fleet of automobiles but admits no timeline has been worked out. Reports Iíve read indicate GM will not venture to guess when they will cease gasoline and diesel engine production. That seems prudent considering GM worldwide makes around 10 million cars per year, and there is no consumer demand beating down their doors to resurrect the EV1.
Close to home, the Village of Sherburne uses a Chevrolet Volt for government use and they recently installed a public use, two-stall electric vehicle charging station in a municipal parking lot. And even closer to home, there is a Toyota Camry hybrid parked in my driveway.
The dramatic change in how we power our transportation is to help prevent global warming and the calamity it will cause.
Letís hope someone is working on a supply source for the electricity that will soon be needed to re-charge all of these electric cars. Last I knew coal fired electric generators are being shut down because they are considered evil. Our Governor is calling for the closure of at least one nuclear power plant in New York State, and efficient and clean burning natural gas is branded as wicked and immoral, particularly the drilling to obtain it.
I do believe there is some sort of change in the global climate. I also know that portions of polar ice have melted and sea levels are rising. I just donít know exactly why this phenomenon is happening. There are two sides to this argument; man made global warming or naturally occurring cyclic warming periods.
So far, my only method to learn about global warming is by reading. Written claims on both sides of the issue are compelling. Yet, it is nearly impossible to have a conversation on this topic because the people who embrace the man-made cause become exasperated once they learn I am undecided on the cause of global warning. Calling me ignorant and belittling my beliefs are not good ways to convince me that you are correct. To say some people are passionate about man-made global warming is an understatement.
Over the years cars manufactured in the United States have become increasingly more fuel efficient and considerably less polluting to the environment. This conversion has been implemented over time, with realistic goals being met. In recent years hybrid and all electric plug-in cars are becoming somewhat common, but certainly not mainstream, with only a small fraction of cars in America being zero emission vehicles. There just isnít a demand for these type cars. I was told by a knowledgeable and respected auto professional ďOwning an electric car is akin to owning a disposable Bic lighter; once the batteries are expended there is little use or value in keeping the carĒ. A pre-owned Prius on a used car lot is a rare sight to be sure. Replacement batteries for an electric car are expensive, and thereís also the environmental hazard of disposing of the spent batteries.
And, just because a Nissan Leaf doesnít have an exhaust pipe, doesnít mean it is really a zero emission vehicle. They need to be plugged in to an outlet to obtain the electricity, and in the US, most electricity is generated by burning hydrocarbon fuels.
Having the government create demand for the type of consumer purchases, like the European model, never works well in the United States. We like our edicts phased in, not forced upon us. The events in Europe are honorable and well intentioned, but I donít know how well their actions will play out in North America. We usually donít change unless we have to, and even then the outcome is never certain. When it comes to the US embracing European social standards I am reminded of President Fordís Metric Conversion Act of 1975. So, how many kilometers is it to the charging station in Sherburne?