What Are the Environmental Benefits of Electric Cars

People are moving away from driving gas-powered vehicles at a tremendous rate for financial and environmental reasons. We have looked at a few key areas where using electric cars will benefit us in the areas we live in and in our wallets. Considering the first Tesla to hit the road was less than twenty years ago (2003), we have seen a dramatic shift towards electric vehicles from small manufacturers all the way through to major car producing companies. This shift has enormous environmental benefits for all of us and will continue to do so for generations to come.

1. Clean Air in Our Neighbourhoods

If you have ever lived in or visited a major city or town, you would have noticed the poor air quality that traditional gas-powered cars and trucks cause. By switching to electric-powered vehicles, we are immediately improving the air quality in our own neighborhoods. To power our electric vehicles, we still need fuel, but by using the main grid to get this fuel, we help to make the air cleaner near our homes and offices.

According to the world’s air quality index, all the high numbers come from urban areas, like Beijing and Mumbai, that have millions of standard vehicles being driven. Fortunately, for both China and India, both countries are aware of the economic and environmental benefits of electric in the foreseeable future.

2. The Rise in Popularity

Electric vehicles are not a new invention, but the technology behind them (specifically, batteries) has only recently made it a viable option for everyday drivers. Many countries have incentives in place to make owning an electric car more appealing, and this has helped to raise the number of people opting for electric over a gas-powered vehicle. In a recent Australian survey, it was found that 54.1% would choose electric for environmental reasons, while the rest voted for ease of use and the cheaper overall cost.

Electric vehicle sales have grown tremendously in countries such as Norway that offers many incentives to encourage users to switch. Almost half of all car sales in Norway last year were for electric vehicles. Considering Norway has vast petroleum and gas reserves, this shows just how determined they are to go electric.

3. Cost Savings

Electric vehicles are still more expensive to buy compared to a gas-powered car, but this discrepancy is being reduced every year. The main expense of electric cars is the battery packs, which power them, and as technology improves, these costs are naturally coming down. A noticeable saving for electric cars is the fuel costs to run them. In the USA, according to a study conducted at the University of Michigan, the fuel cost of electric vs. gasoline revealed a more than fifty percent saving in favor of electric.

On top of the annual fuel bills, you also must consider that electric cars don’t need the same amount of yearly maintenance, thanks to fewer moving parts. They still need the same maintenance for tires, brakes, and suspension, but none for the engine itself as there is only one moving part. As many vehicle manufacturers offer extremely long warranties on the battery packs, you can drive safely for years before you need to invest in maintenance to keep the car on the road.

4. Improving the Environment

We already know that using electric vehicles will instantly improve the air quality in urban areas. The big focus is on how non-gas-powered cars will improve the environment as a whole. In areas where it is feasible, we are now seeing governments investing in renewable energy alternatives such as solar, wind, and tidal. With our growing reliance on electric, we see many companies and countries looking to find cleaner methods for creating energy.

Nuclear power can be a very clean source of energy, but it does have its drawbacks, as was witnessed after the Fukushima Tsunami, an event that resulted in a nuclear disaster. The best solution for electric power generation is to have a vast network of renewable sources, which can cope with the enormous demands put on our national grids. By utilizing clean energy, we will lessen our reliance on fossil fuels, which in turn will reduce the number of harmful gases that are released into the atmosphere every year.

5. Creating a New Economy

The need for clean energy has created a new economy that has been and will continue to grow to meet demand. The last time we saw a new economy created was when the internet first started being an essential tool for businesses. Many petroleum producers are now investing heavily in renewable energy, including solar, tidal, wind, and geo-thermal, to stay at the top of the energy-producing market. The continued investment in renewables has created many jobs for engineers and production plants to be able to service the expanding market.

6. Go Green

It’s not a matter of whether you will buy an electric vehicle, but more a case of when. With many incentives available for those who choose to purchase an electric vehicle today, the reason not to make the change is becoming less and less obvious. Check with your local state to find out what tax reductions and incentives they have available. Buying electric may be cheaper than you thought and, crucially, should you decide to take the plunge, you can rest assured that you will be contributing towards a cleaner and greener future for us all.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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