EVs are Clearly Cleaner, Quieter, and More Fun than Fossil Fueled Vehicles

By Paul Gipe

Amost nine years ago I wrote a series of articles explaining why we chose to drive electric. These essays were simple and straight forward. In part they were based on first principles from my early days in automotive engineering and my subsequent years writing about renewable energy.[1] The gist was that electric vehicles, or EVs, were superior to fossil-fueled vehicles in many ways. In short, EVs are

  • More Efficient,
  • Have No tail-pipe emissions,
  • Have Fewer Overall Emissions,
  • are Quieter, and
  • are Simply More Fun to Drive.

Nothing in that list has changed during the past decade. What has changed is the level of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about EVs. In some ways, it’s a measure of EVs success. They’re now taking a bite out of the oil industry and the prognosis is it’s just going to get worse for the peddlers of the devil’s excrement.[2] The industry knows this and is fighting back in the way it knows best: piling on the propaganda.

Here in Kern County, California’s Oil Capital, the industry’s on the ropes. The local news is filled with reports of lay offs and mergers, a sure sign of an industry in distress. Yet they find enough money to send out glossy, full-page flyers to every resident from a front group calling itself Californian’s for Energy Independence attacking the state’s transition away from fossil fuels. This is in a state with some of the worst air quality in the nation from air pollution caused primarily by fossil-fueled transportation. (No one ever accused the oil industry of lacking Chutzpah.)

Gassers Lose 80 Percent Yale

It reminds me of the wind and solar industry’s early days. We’d just finish debunking one myth only to find that it was going around the world for the second, third, or more times. It seemed to never stop. Even today I saw a comment on Facebook questioning how much of the state’s electricity is generated by renewables. It just couldn’t be true they argued that the state had generated 100% of its electricity even if only on a weekend. Sigh.[3]

So it’s not surprising that naysayers keep resurrecting the old canard that EVs are not as clean as we say they are. For me a decade ago it was intuitively obvious, based on my experience, that EVs are far cleaner than “gassers.” If you stepped back a bit and gave it some serious thought, most thinking people would conclude the same. You don’t need a PhD in physics to figure it out.

Evs Lose 10 Percent Yale

Nevertheless, a lot of very sharp people have turned their analytical skills to this question and reached the same conclusion. The data is being continually updated as EVs get better and better and the sales of fossil-fueled vehicles start to decline.[4] Here is a current list.

My original series.

[1] Though I am not an engineer, I studied engineering at General Motors Institute of Technology, now known as Kettering University. At GMI we were all car geeks. That’s why we were there. Since then I’ve been writing about renewable energy in all its facets for more than 40 years.

[2] “Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo,” in Wikipedia, January 12, 2024, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Juan_Pablo_P%C3%A9rez_Alfonzo&oldid=1195139370. “Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see, oil will bring us ruin… It is the devil’s excrement.”

[3] Laura Klivans, “Is California Still on Track to Meet Its Goal of 100% Clean Power by 2045? KQED,” December 6, 2023, https://www.kqed.org/science/1985611/is-california-still-on-track-to-meet-its-goal-of-100-clean-power-by-2045. Dan Kammen, UC Berkeley energy professor:“The state has produced more than 100% of its energy from renewables for brief periods during the last few spring seasons.”

[4] “Combustion-Vehicle Sales Peaked in 2017, Peak Oil Due in 2027,” Green Car Reports, March 17, 2023, https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1138993_combustion-vehicle-sales-peaked-in-2017-peak-oil-due-in-2027.