Fight against fascists and save money: Go Electric

The price of a liter of petrol is rising, which puts a strain on drivers’ wallets. Although the prices at the pump seem extreme, we have been here before. Adjusted for inflation, gas prices were equally high in 2006, 2008 and some time after 2011.

The current nail follows Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine. This is a security and humanitarian emergency, and it must be addressed immediately. But this is also a war financed by fossil fuels: oil and gas pay more than a third of the Russian Federation’s budget. At the same time, Moscow is trying to use its fossil fuel exports to hold our European allies hostage. [Editor’s note: Oil companies also seem to be using the war and other factors as an excuse to jack up pricing and actually achieve record profits. It appears that price gouging is one of the causes of the high gas prices.]

For American consumers, one thing we can do to counteract the risks of petrostats being to lose oil. This will improve national energy security and the energy security of households while depriving the corrupt leaders of these states of ill-conceived unexpected events.

In the past, many of us were stuck driving gasoline vehicles; we had nowhere to turn. But now we have alternatives. In record numbers, people are throwing away the pump and starting electricity. They want a cleaner, cheaper and more stable alternative to the highly volatile oil market and the highly fluctuating gas prices.

Charging at home is about the same as refueling on a dollar-a-gallon of gasoline. And the average price of residential electricity, adjusted for inflation, has remained close to the dollar-per-gallon equivalent mark for over 20 years, as shown in the chart below, while gas prices go up and down irregularly.

While gas prices fluctuate due to events over which we have no control, electricity prices are themselves more stable as electricity is produced from a diverse mix of largely domestic energy sources. Electricity prices are also more stable because the power industry is regulated. No one regulates the world’s oil market. No one regulates dictators.

Driving on electricity provides savings that households can invest in. In fact, a recent analysis of Atlas Public Policy found that it is already cheaper to own an electric vehicle (EV) than a similar petrol model. For example, the Ford F-150 Lightning pick-up truck will be 17 percent cheaper to own than the gas-powered F-150, even if its original sticker price is higher. It’s also cheaper to own a Volkswagen ID.4 compared to a similar SUV and a Chevy Bolt compared to a Toyota Corolla, Atlas found.

Cost savings and price stability are reasons enough to abandon the petrol pump. But electric vehicles are also the cleanest vehicles on the road and emit about a third as much climate pollution as the average gas-powered vehicle (which accounts for the production and use of both fuels), and unlike petrol, electricity only gets cleaner and cleaner when renewable resources such as wind and sun continue to expand.

People are already making the switch. Although vehicle production stopped and car purchases declined significantly at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, electric car sales are growing rapidly, with an increase of 102 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. The last quarter of 2021 was the highest quarter ever for Electric car sales and December 2021 saw record for any month. During the fourth quarter of 2021, approximately 6 percent of all sales of passenger cars were electric cars. While electric vehicles make sense for our wallets now, the economy and choices in vehicle types and models are only getting better.

There are currently 57 plug-in (pure battery electric or plug-in hybrid) EV models available for purchase in the US and many more are ready to reach the market in the coming years in all vehicle segments. Nearly 200,000 people have pre-ordered Ford F-150 Lightning pickups, and during the fourth quarter of 2021, two new players, Rivian and Lucid, began delivering vehicles.

Before federal and state incentives, there are already more than a dozen electric cars with a decal price that is lower than the average purchase price of new vehicles and there are electric cars in all major segments (sedan, SUV and pickup) that offer a lower total cost of ownership. And Congress is currently considering tax breaks that would make many more EV models cheaper than comparable gasoline vehicles.

The cost in advance for electric cars is expected to fall further with advances in battery technology and an expansion of domestic manufacturing. In December 2020, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that average battery prices fell by more than 90 percent from 2010 levels and now averaged $ 135 per kilowatt hour.

Such drastic reductions in battery costs make electric cars of various types and sizes cost-effective faster than previously anticipated. New models come on the market for medium and heavy vehicles with large manufacturers, including Volvo, Mack, Daimler, Peterbilt and Ford, which introduce new electric vans and commercial trucks. During the fourth quarter of 2021, Nikola delivered the first two electrical semifinals with a range of 350 miles.

It’s time to get off the oil price roller coaster. Drivers have been held hostage under the whims of petro dictators for too long. The safest way not to bump into the pump is to never have to use one.

Originally published on the NRDC Expert Blog. By Max Baumhefner


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