The Trump Republicans spend a lot of time condemning electric cars as the devil’s work. They point to the ungodly rate that electric cars catch fire–they don’t. Hybrids and gas cars catch fire more frequently. They claim that global warming is a myth perpetrated by billionaires like Elon Musk to make more money selling their electric vehicles. They point out that electric cars are inconvenient and need more maintenance than gas-powered cars (they don’t). Electric cars are evil. (rolling eyes)

I’m amused that many global warming deniers live in Texas and other hot states. The climate is changing, and we are contributing to it. The steady increase in average temps has coincided with the use of fossil fuels. It also maps to the increase in our farming of beef and other meats. One thing about climate change, it doesn’t care if you believe in it or not. I do.

All the politics aside, gasoline sells for over five bucks a gallon here in the Pacific Northwest. That’s due to the high refining/crude oil costs and our very high gas tax. There is no state income tax in Washington. Road maintenance and construction are funded largely by gas tax and vehicle license fees. People who live in and near Seattle pay over $400 a year to license their cars.

I’ve been buying hybrids for many years, except for a delightful interlude when I had a 370Z and a Mustang GT. I took the Z to the track. It was big fun. Anyway, I had two Priuses–one had runaway acceleration–a hybrid RAV4, and most recently, a new Hyundai Tucson plug-in hybrid. The hybrids are boring to drive but very easy on gas. The RAV4 got 35 mpg.

Our new car has opened a new world for us. We’ve driven it about 1,200 miles. Because it’s a plug-in hybrid, almost all of them were under electric power. We’ve bought about ten gallons of gas since we’ve owned the car. We installed a charger for the car. We get about thirty miles per charge; then the gasoline engine takes over. At the price we pay for electricity (eleven cents a kilowatt hour), it costs $1.25 per charge. If I want to be conservative and estimate the car’s gasoline mpg at thirty, I’m getting the equivilent of a gallon’s worth of gas for $1.25. Cool.

I can hear the Republicans scream,”Wait! The power plants that make your electricity are burning oil, gas, or coal and are putting CO2 into the air.”

Nope. Wrong. 85 percent of our power is from renewable sources: hydroelectric, wind, and solar. Additionally, when we burn gas, we get proportionately better mileage than gas-powered versions of the same model car.

I wish we could own an electric car, but I don’t think the world is quite ready yet. There are a lot of charging stations around here, but it takes a long time to charge an electric car. I would be a nervous wreck if my charge started running low when we were far from our destination. I don’t want to spend four hours waiting for my car to recharge. That’s why we have the plug-in hybrid. When we run out of electrics, gas takes over. Easy, peasy.

I’m not kidding myself that I’m actually saving real money by owning the plug-in hybrid, or for that matter, any hybrid. They cost a lot more than their gasoline siblings. We had to pay an 0ver-sticker premium for our Tucson. If we own the car for ten years, we will probably break even when we balance the fuel savings with the extra cost of the car.

But that’s not the point. We’re doing the right thing. Even if climate change is a fraud as the skinheads claim, we can all agree that reducing our carbon footprint is good for the planet. Using less petroleum is also a good thing. Our car puts out almost no pollutants. Even fascists can get behind clean air. Caring for the environment isn’t political. It’s just good sense. Besides, I love not having to buy five-dollar gas.

Listen to this post.


  1. I believe the world is warming, but not in an unusual way. The hypothesis that man-made CO2 will be the cause of catastrophic future warming rests on shaky scientific grounds (as I have covered off in my blog).

    I agree that we should strive to reduce and eliminate all manner of real environmental pollution. If everybody were honestly striving for that instead of a manic, doomsday pursuit of “net zero”, the world would be a better place

    1. Author

      I don’t think the pressure of a “net zero” campaign is bad. Anything that moves the pollution needle is good for all of us.

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