Electric Vehicles Might Not Be Better than Gas Cars


Anna Odell, Staff Writer

One of the first thoughts people may have when they want to help the environment is that they should invest in an electric car. The idea being that electric cars would significantly improve air pollution and help the environment in the long run. This, however, might not actually be the case. 

To begin with, electric cars are powered by an electrical grid which uses fossil fuels to run on. These fuels release gasses that are toxic to the environment. 

Politico stated that electric cars are, “only as ‘clean’ as America’s mix of power sources,” as they are charged from this electrical grid. 

While the electric grid is slowly becoming more sustainable by using some renewable sources, we still mainly burn fossil fuels to create energy. The goal of electric cars is to reduce the number of greenhouse gasses that we emit, however, the very thing that powers electric vehicles uses fossil fuels itself. This feels hypocritical in the sense that we urge people to invest in these kinds of cars to try to reduce our carbon footprint, however, we continue to use non-renewable energy which is continuously harming the earth. 

Although driving electric vehicles is greener than driving the average “gas-guzzler,” they still have a long way to go before they are truly environmentally friendly. Not only do they use an energy system that is powered by fossil fuels, but the creation of the car itself also consumes a lot of energy. In fact, obtaining the metals used to build the cars requires extracting raw materials from the Earth. 

Electric cars are “built of aluminum and rare metals and other stuff that must be dug out of the ground,” said Anjani Trivedi on Bloomberg

When we extract raw materials, we release pollutants into the environment, we decrease the soil quality and nutrient levels of certain ecosystems, and we increase seismic activity. 

The White House says that they want to reduce “tailpipe emissions and [boost] the efficiency of cars” in order to decrease the amount of pollution they release, but our activities say otherwise. 

They’re providing funds to increase the number of charging stations throughout the country to help achieve this goal. They seem to be completely unaware of the detrimental effects that electric vehicles have on our environment. 

This sends the message that our government doesn’t care enough about the earth to act faster in terms of finding other ways of creating energy. The government has stressed that the climate crisis needs to be dealt with and has released information regarding the severity of it, however, we haven’t stopped burning fossil fuels or stopped mining for oil. Both of which negatively impact important ecosystems. 

Additionally, companies use destructive methods while creating the batteries that power the electric cars. 

“A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative found that the battery and fuel production for an [electric vehicle] generates higher emissions than the manufacturing of an automobile,” stated CNBC.

To obtain the materials needed to create these batteries takes enormous amounts of water. 

Furthermore, Your AAA Daily stated that this can “contaminate the water supply,” which, in turn, harms the environment. The damage caused by these toxic chemicals that are released into bodies of water hurts its living organisms and is far from easy to reverse. 

In general, electric vehicles aren’t necessarily a great alternative to regular gasoline powered vehicles. The production of the cars themselves as well as their batteries have proven to be just as bad. 

Your AAA Daily also said the “production of electric cars emits between 1.3 and 2 times the amount of greenhouse gases than that of internal-combustion vehicles.”

In summary, the public is sometimes led to believe that solving the climate crisis will be as simple as just switching to an electric car. Social media platforms, the government, and news sources urge them to make this switch. Many of these people aren’t aware that there really aren’t much better alternatives because our energy sources aren’t renewable and so electric cars aren’t that much more efficient than regular cars. We should look to countries such as Sweden which use renewable energy sources like hydropower (using water) and wind power to produce energy. These sources would be much safer for the environment and would help electric cars become much more sustainable in the long run. This is a goal that our government can work to achieve so that we can reduce our carbon footprint. We really can’t make excuses for our inability or ‘refusal’ to use alternative energy. 


Photo Courtesy UNSPLASH.COM