My 2013 Honda Crv that I bought used in 2016 will be paid off in six months, and while I currently have no interest in replacing it, I have been looking at newer cars to see what is available. Truth be told, I’ll probably drive it another 5-6 years until it starts to irritate me or becomes more expensive to maintain than purchasing a new one. Right now it is pretty cheap- I check the oil and put in gas, and every now and again I buy some tires. I still have never replaced the brakes, but I imagine that will be coming due soon. I don’t really brake very much, and i have been driving these roads for so long I know which curves to bank out of and would guess I probably only hit the brakes 4-5 times on the eight mile drive to and from the big city.
At any rate, I would really like to buy an electric car eventually, but I just don’t think they are there yet. Right now, I’m not sure the environmental cost of an electric vehicle…
LEMME STOP RIGHT HERE. I AM NOT AN EXPERT ON THIS, I AM JUST DOING MY OWN THINKING, AND IF I AM WRONG, CHIME IN IN THE COMMENTS IN FACT I AM REALLY NOT AN EXPERT ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN NAPPING AND ACCIDENTAL INJURIES
As I was saying, from what I understand, I’m not sure the environmental cost of producing an electric vehicle doesn’t really offset the gain to driving one. The batteries are a real pain to produce, and if you want a battery that will go a distance without recharge, you have to upsize your battery so it costs even more to produce and requires more energy to make. It’s a complex thing, from what I understand. Electric batteries require a lot of lithium, cobalt, and a whole host of rare earth materials, the vast majority of which come from overseas. And rare earth materials, despite their name, are not really that rare, they are pretty much everywhere, but the extraction process is dirty, nasty, and produce huge environmental impacts, which is why we are totes cool with letting China and India poison their citizens extracting them and not mining them in say, Wyoming or California (although that is changing).
So there is that. There is also the issue that the availability of charging stations that can charge in a speedy manner are not there yet, nor are there vehicle replacements for the kinds of cars I would like to drive in a hybrid option. There’s only one or two models that are hybrid from every major automaker, with the exception of Tesla, but those cars are complete shit with horrid production. The interiors are crap, there are gaps in every window, the consoles squeak and wiggle. Just utter shit.
On top of all that, the vehicles still require electricity, most of which is still generated by fossil fuels. For various reasons we have not upgraded to safer nuclear systems, and solar and hydro are not going to carry the load. So you are still stuck driving a vehicle that is powered by coal or natural gas, both of which have their underlying environmental costs.
On top of all this, we are in a really awkward phase right now. Since we are not allowed to do any massive governmental capital investment because socialism and tax cut jeebus and generally not allowed to do nice things, we can’t just invest in government run renewables projects and update our power grid. We’re still in the early phases of most things, including solar, and nothing is really to scale yet and the people who want to do things can’t because we’re still in the lawsuit phase to see who gets to rob the American people and who is cheating by buying from China and blah blah blah.
On top of all this, the gas issue is not going away. In one regard, we’re finally starting to get close to the price we SHOULD be paying for gas (I think $8-9 a gallon would be a target I would like to see in an ideal world), and it’s a price high enough to maybe start actually changing people’s behaviors. At the same time, that will be devastating to the vast majority of Americans. Regardless, it’s probably going to happen anyway, because we simply do not have the refining capacity that we need to supply all our domestic needs. A new refinery has not come online for like fifty years, there are none under construction, and no one wants to build or run them because… everything is changing. I read the other day that there is a refinery for sale that would create a couple hundred thousand barrels per day, and no one wants to buy it.
Refineries are big, expensive, difficult to maintain, and everything is expensive to maintain and modernize. Additionally, refineries are vulnerable to the whims of the market place, as are oil drillers. No one ever talks about it, but Trump absolutely fucked American energy producers in 2018 when he blackmailed the Saudis to produce more oil because the price of gas was going high and threatening to fuck with his precious stock market (the only thing in the world he cares about other than himself), and that in turn put tons of American energy companies out of business because prices plummeted (google how many oil production and exploration companies went tits up in 2019). Then in 2020, when the price of oil futures was plummeting because the entire world was shut down in a global pandemic, Mr. Super Fucking GENIUS Businessman bullied Saudi Arabia to cut production or we’d stop helping them kill Yemeni and might stop being quiet about the murder of Kashoggi. And so they did. And the cuts in production were part of the reason we are in a crisis right now, because that two year deal just ended two months ago.
So any way you slice or dice it, we’re just kinda fucked until things sort themselves out. And it leaves very few good options for people like me who want to do the right thing. I suppose all of this was a very long winded way of saying for right now, I think a hybrid would be the best option for me, but maybe in a few more years when there are more options available. For right now, I will just drive the vehicle I have because I can’t afford a new one anyway, and the environmental cost of building my car has already been dealt with. I’ll just drive left.
You are welcome to this look insight the twisted mind of John Cole where there are no simple answers to anything and where I am probably half wrong about everything.