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Throw-Away Cars

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Throw-Away Cars

I wrote this about 3 years ago but it is even more relevant today. Tax increases as efficiency increases.

๏ฟผThe throw away car.
The push for hybrid and full electric cars as an environmental ideology may help in the short term yet there are long term issues that should be strongly considered.
We all know that electricity is generated through power plants and for the most part these plants are run on fossil fuels. To charge your electric car will still use fossil fuels. I wonโ€™t get into the long term issues of solar power and/or windmill power generation systems which require fossil fuel generators to be running 24/7 as backup.

Another issue as we switch to more efficient vehicles is the increase in taxes that will accompany them. Our roads are in large part maintained by road taxes and those taxes are built into the price of fuel at the pump. As cars become more efficient, less fuel is used. As less fuel is used, less is purchased and as less is purchased less taxes are collected. As the tax base decreases other ways of generating tax revenue will be instituted. One method that is being tested in some areas is a tax on miles driven. The amount looked at is one penny per mile or a dollar per 100 miles. A tracker will be placed on cars and the amount owed will be paid at the time of registration. The fuel tax will not be done away with and as the average car in the US is driven between 10-16k miles, this is an added tax at registration of around $100-$150. Not so much until you look at freight companies and realize the average freight truck drives 100k miles per year. This is an extra $1000 at registration plus the tax paid for fuel. This will be calculated into your Amazon orders.

But there is a bigger environmental issue with electric cars looming on the future horizon. Yes, the abuse of children to mine the minerals to build the batteries is a huge issue as is the strip mining of vast areas of land but these are not the issue I am referring to. The environmental impact I am looking at comes from the cost of battery replacement. The average life expectancy of a battery bank for the average electric vehicle is 80,000 miles and this is why you see so many electric vehicles being sold at the 40k-60k miles mark. The average electric vehicle with 60k miles sells for $18k. The cost of replacing the average electric vehicle battery pack is $15,000.00. Therefore, at 80k miles the value of the vehicle is less than the cost to replace the batteries. At the point where the battery dies, the average electric vehicle is useless and will be discarded. In time we will have toxic battery dumps and junk yards teaming with dead electric vehicles. To keep the electric vehicle light and thus efficient, a lot of plastic is used. This means the recycle value is minimal at best. These throw away vehicles and the worn out battery packs will become an environmental disaster of their own.

As with all things, we must look at the consequences of big decisions before we jump onboard with our knee jerk reactions. Governments should be putting money into reserves and guide investments into technologies that will benefit the future and not create policy that is ahead of the current state of science and our electric gridโ€™s capacity and tax increases. Legislating the elimination of fossil fuel vehicles may feel good and get green points for the politician but with todayโ€™s technology the environmental impact could be a disaster.

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