Electric vehicles: Are they a good idea?


Courtesy of pixabay

Electric car charging

Maximilian Lisowski

For the past two decades, experts around the world have been looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. 

Whether that be recycling, composting or creating innovative food packaging that reduces waste, the U.S. is looking to push toward green infrastructure. More specifically, in the past several years, there has been a push for the implementation of more electric vehicles on our roadways across the country.

We often think that more electric vehicles will equal fewer carbon emissions and greater sustainability — which they will — but what could some of the hidden consequences of our nation’s transition to electric be? 

Cost and convenience

Electric vehicles are an excellent way for Americans to reduce carbon emissions, but they are costly. To this day, the Tesla Model Y is the most sold electric vehicle in the U.S., priced from $62,990 and upwards. While the cost and tax of gasoline are out of the picture, there are only about 1,400 Tesla superchargers in the U.S., and charging at home adds about 44 miles per hour of charge. This makes refueling an inconvenient task. 

On the other hand, the most sold diesel-powered vehicle is the Ford F-Series pickup. The price of these vehicles varies by year, but the average cost sits at around $50,000. While people who own a Ford have to pay what seems to be ever-increasing gas prices bundled with taxes, it is much more convenient to visit one of the over 145,000 gas stations across the country to spend about four minutes to be able to drive another 200 to 300 miles.

For most Americans, it is much more reasonable to purchase a vehicle that costs $12,000 less and has more access to fueling stations across the country. So, it may be difficult to convince our country to go electric, especially in states like Iowa that heavily rely on gasoline and diesel. 

Effects on roadways

Another unforeseen consequence that electric vehicles could create is negative effects on roadways. The Tesla Model Y weighs in at around 4,550 pounds, while a Ford F-150 weighs in at around 4,021 pounds. While this may seem like a negligible difference, this small difference in weight could contribute to more degradation of our roadways throughout the country. 

Currently, there are about 290 million gas-powered vehicles registered in the U.S. and around 2 million electric vehicles. If we were to increase the number of electric vehicles in our country by, let’s say, ten-fold, there would be an additional four and a half million tons of weight being dragged across our roads that are mostly asphalt. This would likely increase the amount of damage done to our roads and increase the costs tied to fixing them.

And how do roadways often get fixed? With tax dollars. 

Owners of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles pay taxes every time they fuel up, and so do owners of electric vehicles — just at a lower rate. Yes, there are fees that may be more expensive for electric vehicles to compensate for tax money lost, but this number is negligible. The amount of money the government collects from gas and diesel taxes is far greater than that of electricity. 

In a perfect world, I think that electric vehicles are a good idea, but there are so many external factors that weigh against them– not even including the problem of gas and diesel vehicle disposal. 

We have to decide if we are willing to pay the extra price for a more sustainable future.