John Howard: Urges use of electric vehicles

  • seb_ra

Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Urges use of electric vehicles

Most of us have accepted the existence of climate change and the reality that we can only mitigate it, not stop it. We feel helpless.

That is pretty depressing. Like most depressing things we try to put it out of our minds. Doing something or several somethings is a way to push aside the helplessness.

The more we can do to correct climate change the less awful we will feel. There are many possible things to do. The book “Drawdown,” which offers solutions, is a good start. Paul Hawken, the editor, is very hopeful about not just stopping but reducing climate change.

You don’t have to reinsulate your house or install a 10-kilowatt solar array. We all use transportation. Walking or cycling is good for us and for the climate.

Driving to the end of the driveway to get the mail is not. We can save up to 30 percent depending on how we drive. Vehicles get better mileage by changing speeds slowly and driving slowly and with better maintenance.

Better cars are another opportunity to do something. Drive a car with a higher mpg. Most vehicles only get an mpg rating in the 20s. If a car gets 23 mpg it costs an average of $1,950 per year to run. If a car gets 33 mpg it costs an average of $1,150 per year to run. A hybrid-electric car gets 52 mpg and costs an average of $700 per year to run. Over five years, owners can save thousands of dollars and do not have to change their driving habits.

A higher mpg not only saves money, it saves our world. Vehicles with an mpg rating below 20 put an average of nine tons of carbon in the atmosphere. Vehicles with a high mpg put an average of five tons of greenhouse gases in the air per year. Those gases cause climate change.

Think of your children and consider an electric car. The cost of electric vehicles is coming down while the range is going up. If you buy the car through the Drive Green with Mass Energy program, there is a price deduction of $1,000 to $12,000 depending on which car and dealer you use. It will be long into the future before lower electric vehicle costs equal the present incentives.

The cost to drive electric vehicles is one-third to one-half less than gas- powered cars, depending on electricity and gas prices. There is little to no maintenance.

You can arrange to purchase solar photovoltaic-produced electricity at no extra cost from your utility and drive on sunlight. If not now, when?

John Howard

South Hadley