Author Topic: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?  (Read 2264 times)

Hadilly

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Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« on: October 17, 2018, 11:11:59 PM »
Forgive the clickbait title, but I am pondering this and would love some mustachian input.

We just went on a camping trip with my childís school. The organizer is a huge proponent of the Sierra club, camping, carbon footprint reduction, and electric cars. He made the point that every gallon of gas is 20 lbs of carbon and switching to an electric car is a meaningful change for many reasons. We went so far as to test drive another camperís car, a Chevy Bolt, I believe. Nice car. The owner was leasing it and figured out that it was going to cost him 6k over the 3 years, offer HOV lane access and no gas cost.

Okay, I find all of this pretty compelling, but.

We ride our bikes all the time. If we buy gas once a month, that is a lot. Our cars are paid off (a 2004 Jetta and a 2010 Odyssey). We have a single car garage that houses all the bikes. If we got an electric car, we would have to put up bike racks and figure out a place for the Burley when charging.

We also have three children. I am definitely not up for dropping 55k on a Tesla S that will fit everyone comfortably for long trips.

My husband feels a heavier car is better in accidents and is disinclined to change the status quo.

What do we need a car for? Errands around town, 4-6 camping trips a year, 2-3 ski trips, the occasional journey to SF or LA. Not a whole lot in other words. We were going to sell the Jetta and experimented with not using it for four months.

So, I am contemplating ditching the Jetta and getting something like the Bolt for local, non-freeway  driving. It seems like too much of a pain to rent a bigger car for longer trips, so could keep the minivan for that.

It feels weird to spend money getting a new car, a bit face punchy to be honest. I like to keep costs low. I also like the idea of supporting electric cars, but had vaguely assumed I would do it at some point in the future.

Thoughts? Opinions? Your experience with electric cars? Suggestions for cars and ways to make this happen? It sounds like the leasing market varies a lot and I would need to spend some time researching and looking for the best deal.

On a funny note, as we left the campground, the organizer was happily chanting, ďElectric cars! Electric Cars!Ē I yelled back, ďBicycles! Bicycles!Ē

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 11:22:15 PM »
"If we buy gas once a month, that is a lot"

At that level of usage, doesn't seem worth it to change up at all (what is the carbon footprint of an EV battery and how would that amortize over usage of just several thousand miles per year?).

But on a more serious note, when you're dead, you can't pollute.

marty998

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2018, 12:18:21 AM »
Is the electricity used to charge your electric car powered from coal?

Ducknald Don

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2018, 12:26:28 AM »
Is the electricity used to charge your electric car powered from coal?

Internal combustion engines are inefficient to the point that even if you create your electricity with dirty coal you are still generating less CO2 with an electric car.

CCCA

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2018, 01:58:28 AM »
Is the electricity used to charge your electric car powered from coal?

Internal combustion engines are inefficient to the point that even if you create your electricity with dirty coal you are still generating less CO2 with an electric car.


Yes, there may be a CO2 savings from an EV powered by coal vs an ICE on gasoline, but it's going to be small, especially if the combustion vehicle is a hybrid or even a smaller efficient car.

Anyway, I'm in the same boat (considering an EV).  Considering a used plug-in hybrid vehicle, but because we already drive a prius and use so little gas, replacing our perfectly good car with a cleaner one may not be the most cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions.  But I do scour craigslist for plug-in priuses and other EVs just to get a sense of the prices.  At some point (maybe a couple of years) our car will need replacing and used plug-ins will be so cheap that we won't balk at the cost.

Hirondelle

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 06:05:53 AM »
The effects of EVs might be a bit overrated. At your driving level it might not be much. I've recently read an interview with an expert on it here (after a post in the "what did you do to reduce your environmental impact"-thread).

Quote
One of the interesting conclusions in your book is that the advantages of electric cars are overrated. Can you tell us more about that?
That is an interesting one indeed. The impact of an electric car is a bit lower than that of a fossil fuel car: about 30%, but itís not 100% clean as we like to think. I guess we love electric cars so much because the visible impact is removed from sight; smog in the cities is reduced. The impact moves to power plants and to the other side of the world, where raw materials for the battery are mined. That is a very polluting business.

If the organizer is really into reducing his and others impact, he'd encourage people to reduce car use and take bikes and/or public transport options. You mention you were experimenting about not using one of the cars for 4 months and then maybe selling it - does this mean you're considering becoming a one-car family? Going down to a 1-car family rather than getting an EV would make drastically more impact and deserve nothing but praise from the camping trip organizer.

Hadilly

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2018, 06:07:00 AM »
Thank you for your thoughts.

lost: I should check into the carbon footprint of a battery. We do use our cars. Heck, sometimes we fill one up twice a month! The camping guy said that using your money to stimulate the new market/production of electric cars was also an important act.

marty998: Our town does not use coal. Its power and gas are carbon neutral.

CCCA:Iíll be curious to hear what you do. Our cars currently pass their smog tests but arenít particularly efficient or great. Which used plug-in hybrids,besides a Prius, are you considering? Camping guy bought his friendís used Tesla for 32k. Again, more than I want to spend.

SnackDog

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 06:11:15 AM »
Could you sell one or both of your cars and eliminate driving completely?

Hadilly

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2018, 06:18:12 AM »
Hirondelle: good article! I will forward it to camping guy (CG)..

Yes, we did consider going to one car. Going to one car doesnít really reduce the amount of miles driven though. My husband always bikes, so all it means is that if I donít bike, I can drive a small car or a bigger car.

Iím sounding more green than I really am. I bike a lot, but do drive if Iím tired, go to Costco, want to go to San Francisco or need to logistically.

Hadilly

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2018, 06:20:47 AM »
SnackDog: no, not really. I need a car for work one day a week. I think our miles driven are pretty low, but they will never be zero. This is about possibly spending money to lower their carbon footprint.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2018, 06:22:30 AM »
If you are replacing a car or driving a lot of miles, yes, I think getting one with a plug is important. But biking obviously has a lower carbon footprint than driving the most efficient car, and if you are driving <5,000 miles a year on OK cars I donít think thereís a mandate to replace.

(I own two PHEVs)

swinginbeef

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2018, 06:56:39 AM »
replacing an existing [anything] which is completely functional and fairly efficient with a new [anything] that is more efficient is a bad plan. The negative environmental cost of producing a new, more efficient widget FAR outweighs the slight positive environment cost difference in usage. I've read articles stating the overall, it's more earth friendly to continue driving your 1979 pickup, getting 8mpg, than it is to trash it and buy a new Tesla.

You can weigh whether you should get an electric vs hybrid vs ICE vehicle once the existing Jetta is no longer functional, but any sooner than that, keeping and using what you already have is environmentally better nearly 100% of the time.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2018, 09:05:45 AM »
Don't forget that an enormous amount of resources go into making and shipping a car. Also, will you be driving as much in retirement? How much longer would you have to work to pay for this?
With how little you use your cars, I can't see enough of a benefit for you to go so far as to get rid of your current perfectly good car and spend a small fortune on another wasteful, but not quite as wasteful car.

It seems that there are countless bigger impact things you could do to positively impact the environment that don't involve buying a new and unnecessary car.

Is camp guy a vegan?
Does he research the environmental impact of all foods and products he buys?*


Does he prioritize buying local as much as possible to minimize the shipping involved in his consumption?
Does he produce minimal waste? Avoid single use plastics? Research the environmental impact on non-single-use-plastic alternatives?
Are all of his household and personal products biodegradable?
Does he buy everything he can used?
Does he live in a small dwelling close to his work so that he can minimize driving?

If no, then what moral authority does this guy have telling people they need to sell perfectly good cars to go buy e-cars?
Honestly, dude sounds like a blowhard to me. I once had a lawyer at a gala rant at me about how I obviously didn't care about the environment because I didn't want a Tesla. My response: "fuck you Mike"

Personally, at this point, I would rather use our city's well organized car-share service and public transit and wait for autonomous fleets rather than sell my perfectly good Corolla and buy an electric car that I wouldn't use often. That seems way more wasteful to me.

So no, you are not obligated to sell your Jetta and buy an electric vehicle.
Maybe in the future when you need a new car, the argument could be made for you to consider an electric car even if it cost more assuming you can afford it (and assuming there isn't an autonomous fleet available), but that's based on your own moral values and research, not what camp guy tells you.

*Note: when it comes to morality, there's more than just the environment to consider when choosing foods. There's the human labour conditions and economic forces at play as well that should weigh in on food purchasing decisions, plus the information available is often misleading or unreliable. In 2013, buying quinoa was reportedly bad for poor Peruvians, in 2016 that turned out to be completely wrong and it was helping poor Peruvians, but now there are environmental concerns about Peruvian quinoa farming.
It's fucking complicated.

+1

Hirondelle

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2018, 09:17:33 AM »
Don't forget that an enormous amount of resources go into making and shipping a car. Also, will you be driving as much in retirement? How much longer would you have to work to pay for this?
With how little you use your cars, I can't see enough of a benefit for you to go so far as to get rid of your current perfectly good car and spend a small fortune on another wasteful, but not quite as wasteful car.

It seems that there are countless bigger impact things you could do to positively impact the environment that don't involve buying a new and unnecessary car.

Is camp guy a vegan?
Does he research the environmental impact of all foods and products he buys?*


Does he prioritize buying local as much as possible to minimize the shipping involved in his consumption?
Does he produce minimal waste? Avoid single use plastics? Research the environmental impact on non-single-use-plastic alternatives?
Are all of his household and personal products biodegradable?
Does he buy everything he can used?
Does he live in a small dwelling close to his work so that he can minimize driving?

If no, then what moral authority does this guy have telling people they need to sell perfectly good cars to go buy e-cars?
Honestly, dude sounds like a blowhard to me. I once had a lawyer at a gala rant at me about how I obviously didn't care about the environment because I didn't want a Tesla. My response: "fuck you Mike"

Personally, at this point, I would rather use our city's well organized car-share service and public transit and wait for autonomous fleets rather than sell my perfectly good Corolla and buy an electric car that I wouldn't use often. That seems way more wasteful to me.

So no, you are not obligated to sell your Jetta and buy an electric vehicle.
Maybe in the future when you need a new car, the argument could be made for you to consider an electric car even if it cost more assuming you can afford it (and assuming there isn't an autonomous fleet available), but that's based on your own moral values and research, not what camp guy tells you.

*Note: when it comes to morality, there's more than just the environment to consider when choosing foods. There's the human labour conditions and economic forces at play as well that should weigh in on food purchasing decisions, plus the information available is often misleading or unreliable. In 2013, buying quinoa was reportedly bad for poor Peruvians, in 2016 that turned out to be completely wrong and it was helping poor Peruvians, but now there are environmental concerns about Peruvian quinoa farming.
It's fucking complicated.

+1

+2. Very true. Depending on his habits this campguy might be a total environmental disaster driving a Tesla to look cool.

@Hadilly if you don't really need the 2nd car I'd vote to get rid of it. Will save you money and my guess would still be that you would reduce driving slightly as you have less choice of having the car. There'll be less of a choice to drive plus it's money saving (insurance, registration) and less cars on the road/driveway/garage. I honestly also think it's an excellent example for children to see that their parents are able to do everything with one car. E.g. for them this will be their normal compared to them thinking "you need 2 cars for 2 adults even if you don't use them daily". It sounds weird, but those things get easily ingrained in one's brain.

bacchi

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2018, 09:47:56 AM »
replacing an existing [anything] which is completely functional and fairly efficient with a new [anything] that is more efficient is a bad plan. The negative environmental cost of producing a new, more efficient widget FAR outweighs the slight positive environment cost difference in usage. I've read articles stating the overall, it's more earth friendly to continue driving your 1979 pickup, getting 8mpg, than it is to trash it and buy a new Tesla.

You can weigh whether you should get an electric vs hybrid vs ICE vehicle once the existing Jetta is no longer functional, but any sooner than that, keeping and using what you already have is environmentally better nearly 100% of the time.

Not to pick on you but I'm skeptical of this kind of thinking.

Buying used, or selling used and buying new, doesn't change anything except shift the manufacturing around. For example, selling a 2014 Jetta to get a new Leaf puts the Jetta into the used car lot for someone else to buy. It doesn't get crushed or dumped into the ocean or parted out, as long as it's functional and sellable. If the 2014 Jetta is kept, then the future buyer of the Jetta would need to buy something else, and so on, until someone can't find what they want and end up buying new.

In other words, choosing to sell a functional used car doesn't create additional manufacturing. That'll happen regardless when suitable used cars can't be found to buy.

There's probably a lot more nuance to this and I'm open to criticism.

CCCA

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2018, 11:22:21 AM »
replacing an existing [anything] which is completely functional and fairly efficient with a new [anything] that is more efficient is a bad plan. The negative environmental cost of producing a new, more efficient widget FAR outweighs the slight positive environment cost difference in usage. I've read articles stating the overall, it's more earth friendly to continue driving your 1979 pickup, getting 8mpg, than it is to trash it and buy a new Tesla.

You can weigh whether you should get an electric vs hybrid vs ICE vehicle once the existing Jetta is no longer functional, but any sooner than that, keeping and using what you already have is environmentally better nearly 100% of the time.

Not to pick on you but I'm skeptical of this kind of thinking.

Buying used, or selling used and buying new, doesn't change anything except shift the manufacturing around. For example, selling a 2014 Jetta to get a new Leaf puts the Jetta into the used car lot for someone else to buy. It doesn't get crushed or dumped into the ocean or parted out, as long as it's functional and sellable. If the 2014 Jetta is kept, then the future buyer of the Jetta would need to buy something else, and so on, until someone can't find what they want and end up buying new.

In other words, choosing to sell a functional used car doesn't create additional manufacturing. That'll happen regardless when suitable used cars can't be found to buy.

There's probably a lot more nuance to this and I'm open to criticism.

I think you raise a good point that a decision by the OP is not just limited to the OP's emissions, but has impacts on the rest of the world.  The important thing is not how OP's emissions change but whether it causes the emissions for the world to change.

However, it's sometimes hard to know what would happen if you make decision "X" and what would happen in the status quo where you decide not to do "X".  In this case, your point brings up the following thought experiment. 

If OP buys an EV, this brings one more EV into the world.  If OP doesn't buy an EV, whoever would have bought the used Jetta needs to buy another (maybe used) car and that creates a chain where maybe someone down the line buys a new car (or it might not).  Less supply on the used car market could mean that prices rise and so people who would buy a new used car might hold off on their purchase and drive an older dirtier car for longer.  It could also mean that new cars are more attractive relative to used cars and someone does buy a new car instead of opting for a fairly price 1-2 year old used car.

Then the question is what does that new car purchase that is induced by OP not buying an EV look like.  Is it an SUV, a hybrid, an EV?  Who knows?   

Thank you for your thoughts.

CCCA:I’ll be curious to hear what you do. Our cars currently pass their smog tests but aren’t particularly efficient or great. Which used plug-in hybrids,besides a Prius, are you considering? Camping guy bought his friend’s used Tesla for 32k. Again, more than I want to spend.

Yeah, mostly considering the plug-in prius.  We only drive 5000 miles/yr or so.  Our driving is very bimodal.  Lots of 1-10 miles trips and then lot of our miles are put on road trips (300 miles/day or more).  An EV wouldn't cut it as a primary vehicle so a PHEV makes sense.  A plug-in prius is the most efficient vehicle in hybrid mode when not able to plug in.  5 year old models are about $10-$15k so not cheap.  Our 11 y/o Prius has over 150k miles and works well so we'll probably just keep that until the prices drop to where we the price won't be much of an issue.  If we could score one for $6-8k in a couple of years, I think that might be low enough.  We own solar panels with excess electricity we sell back to the utility so we'd essentially have free, zero-carbon electricity to charge the car with.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 11:28:17 AM by CCCA »

nessness

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2018, 11:23:25 AM »
replacing an existing [anything] which is completely functional and fairly efficient with a new [anything] that is more efficient is a bad plan. The negative environmental cost of producing a new, more efficient widget FAR outweighs the slight positive environment cost difference in usage. I've read articles stating the overall, it's more earth friendly to continue driving your 1979 pickup, getting 8mpg, than it is to trash it and buy a new Tesla.

You can weigh whether you should get an electric vs hybrid vs ICE vehicle once the existing Jetta is no longer functional, but any sooner than that, keeping and using what you already have is environmentally better nearly 100% of the time.

Not to pick on you but I'm skeptical of this kind of thinking.

Buying used, or selling used and buying new, doesn't change anything except shift the manufacturing around. For example, selling a 2014 Jetta to get a new Leaf puts the Jetta into the used car lot for someone else to buy. It doesn't get crushed or dumped into the ocean or parted out, as long as it's functional and sellable. If the 2014 Jetta is kept, then the future buyer of the Jetta would need to buy something else, and so on, until someone can't find what they want and end up buying new.

In other words, choosing to sell a functional used car doesn't create additional manufacturing. That'll happen regardless when suitable used cars can't be found to buy.

There's probably a lot more nuance to this and I'm open to criticism.
This is true only in the demand for used cars equals the supply. For many other used items (e.g. clothing) the supply far exceeds the demands. So if you sell your used jacket and buy a new one, that probably means one more used jacket is getting thrown out instead of purchased, so the net effect is still more waste. I don't know to what extent that applies to cars - my guess would be less so than to clothing, but we don't seem to have any shortage of used cars.

bacchi

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2018, 11:37:05 AM »
replacing an existing [anything] which is completely functional and fairly efficient with a new [anything] that is more efficient is a bad plan. The negative environmental cost of producing a new, more efficient widget FAR outweighs the slight positive environment cost difference in usage. I've read articles stating the overall, it's more earth friendly to continue driving your 1979 pickup, getting 8mpg, than it is to trash it and buy a new Tesla.

You can weigh whether you should get an electric vs hybrid vs ICE vehicle once the existing Jetta is no longer functional, but any sooner than that, keeping and using what you already have is environmentally better nearly 100% of the time.

Not to pick on you but I'm skeptical of this kind of thinking.

Buying used, or selling used and buying new, doesn't change anything except shift the manufacturing around. For example, selling a 2014 Jetta to get a new Leaf puts the Jetta into the used car lot for someone else to buy. It doesn't get crushed or dumped into the ocean or parted out, as long as it's functional and sellable. If the 2014 Jetta is kept, then the future buyer of the Jetta would need to buy something else, and so on, until someone can't find what they want and end up buying new.

In other words, choosing to sell a functional used car doesn't create additional manufacturing. That'll happen regardless when suitable used cars can't be found to buy.

There's probably a lot more nuance to this and I'm open to criticism.
This is true only in the demand for used cars equals the supply. For many other used items (e.g. clothing) the supply far exceeds the demands. So if you sell your used jacket and buy a new one, that probably means one more used jacket is getting thrown out instead of purchased, so the net effect is still more waste. I don't know to what extent that applies to cars - my guess would be less so than to clothing, but we don't seem to have any shortage of used cars.

Agreed, for less expensive items, if it doesn't sell, it gets tossed. This is especially true for clothing and bric-a-brac items commonly seen at thrift stores. Particle board furniture, also, gets tossed if it doesn't sell.

More expensive items get reduced in price until someone buys them, if they're not obsolete like phones.

(As an aside, when the bike sharing company Ofo pulled out of several markets, they literally dumped 1000s of bikes. I hope someone pulled them out, removed the meter, and is using them.)

nessness

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2018, 11:51:57 AM »
replacing an existing [anything] which is completely functional and fairly efficient with a new [anything] that is more efficient is a bad plan. The negative environmental cost of producing a new, more efficient widget FAR outweighs the slight positive environment cost difference in usage. I've read articles stating the overall, it's more earth friendly to continue driving your 1979 pickup, getting 8mpg, than it is to trash it and buy a new Tesla.

You can weigh whether you should get an electric vs hybrid vs ICE vehicle once the existing Jetta is no longer functional, but any sooner than that, keeping and using what you already have is environmentally better nearly 100% of the time.

Not to pick on you but I'm skeptical of this kind of thinking.

Buying used, or selling used and buying new, doesn't change anything except shift the manufacturing around. For example, selling a 2014 Jetta to get a new Leaf puts the Jetta into the used car lot for someone else to buy. It doesn't get crushed or dumped into the ocean or parted out, as long as it's functional and sellable. If the 2014 Jetta is kept, then the future buyer of the Jetta would need to buy something else, and so on, until someone can't find what they want and end up buying new.

In other words, choosing to sell a functional used car doesn't create additional manufacturing. That'll happen regardless when suitable used cars can't be found to buy.

There's probably a lot more nuance to this and I'm open to criticism.
This is true only in the demand for used cars equals the supply. For many other used items (e.g. clothing) the supply far exceeds the demands. So if you sell your used jacket and buy a new one, that probably means one more used jacket is getting thrown out instead of purchased, so the net effect is still more waste. I don't know to what extent that applies to cars - my guess would be less so than to clothing, but we don't seem to have any shortage of used cars.

Agreed, for less expensive items, if it doesn't sell, it gets tossed. This is especially true for clothing and bric-a-brac items commonly seen at thrift stores. Particle board furniture, also, gets tossed if it doesn't sell.

More expensive items get reduced in price until someone buys them, if they're not obsolete like phones.

But this is still bound to increase the number of cars that get junked. Let's say I have an older car that breaks down and needs $2k in repairs. If a comparable used car in good shape sells for $4k, I'll probably keep mine and get it repaired. But if there's a glut of used cars pushing down the prices, and I can get that used car for $1500, I'll buy it and junk mine (simplified numbers, but you get the idea).

I googled and found a bunch of articles from 2017 about an oversupply decreasing prices, but they were all from an economic perspective rather than an environmental one.

bacchi

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2018, 12:15:33 PM »
But this is still bound to increase the number of cars that get junked. Let's say I have an older car that breaks down and needs $2k in repairs. If a comparable used car in good shape sells for $4k, I'll probably keep mine and get it repaired. But if there's a glut of used cars pushing down the prices, and I can get that used car for $1500, I'll buy it and junk mine (simplified numbers, but you get the idea).

I googled and found a bunch of articles from 2017 about an oversupply decreasing prices, but they were all from an economic perspective rather than an environmental one.

Yeah, there's certainly a point where a beater falls off the lot and ends up being crushed, especially if it needs a new transmission or something equally $$. Those cars on the edge are in a different category from a recent model, though. A working late-model car isn't going to end up in the junkyard.

Think of it like a bell-curve. Most people looking for used cars want something in the 1-2d bell and not a car farther on the edges.

All of this is just meant to suggest that selling a used car and buying a newer model isn't necessarily "bad" for the environment. That car is getting used somewhere by someone, though it may push a really old POS to the junkyard (and that may be a good thing if it's a 1990 polluter).

BicycleB

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2018, 12:52:15 PM »
One factor in favor of keeping the cars, I think, it the effect of wear and tear. 

My theory starts with the belief that cars eventually fall apart due to a mixture of usage and time. By time, I mean that if my car sits in my driveway unused (as it often does now; 400 miles/month avg in recent FIRE), it still gets affected by elements and will eventually decay into a pile of nonfunctional metal (and other substances). If you, a rare driver, keep your car instead of selling it to a more frequent driver, your car will reach end of life with fewer miles driven than the other driver would have caused.

I assume that to the extent this causes someone else to buy a new car, rising new car fuel efficiency improves the overall efficiency of the system.

That's the line I'm peddling...haha.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 12:53:46 PM by BicycleB »

TrMama

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2018, 01:12:56 PM »
Doesn't anyone else see the irony of EV Dude organizing an event that requires the use of many cars, while he simultaneously rails against how damaging to the environment cars are?

EV guy sounds like a dufus. Stick with your original plan and don't get pressured into things you're not comfortable with.

swinginbeef

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2018, 02:04:19 PM »

Buying used, or selling used and buying new, doesn't change anything except shift the manufacturing around.

my suggestion wasn't between buying used or buying new, I say don't buy anything and keep what you have. Anyone who would be in the market for a 2004 Jetta isn't going to be rushing out to buy a new EV if the sale falls through. Creating the car for the original sale holds the huge environmental cost. Once the car is manufactured, the environmental cost difference is definitely greater than zero, but mostly meaningless in comparison. I do agree with you that eventually there will have to be new cars bought, but if the top of the car buying food chain holds off on their purchases the trickle down will eventually be dry on the bottom, hopefully leading to more public transportation? I don't know, it makes sense in my brain. But I definitely agree with you that it's less black/white with a vehicle that is bought and sold through multiple generations of owners.

FIRE47

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2018, 02:35:05 PM »
Not going to get into it about the guy's attitude.

I seem to remember reading that an EV is roughly equivalent to taking something like 3-5 cars off the road BUT you have to keep it for like 8-10 years for that to be the case.

If you are buying a new Tesla every 2 years you might as well be buying ICE any less than 2 years you are making the problem worse due to the increased pollution in manufacturing, 2 years seems to be the breakeven for how long it takes the average driver to offset the increased manufacturing "costs" to the environment.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 02:37:23 PM by FIRE47 »

swinginbeef

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2018, 02:48:10 PM »
If you are buying a new Tesla every 2 years you might as well be buying ICE any less than 2 years you are making the problem worse due to the increased pollution in manufacturing, 2 years seems to be the breakeven for how long it takes the average driver to offset the increased manufacturing "costs" to the environment.

I'm going to have to do some digging/reading on this. Any sources where I might start? That doesn't seem right to me. It takes a LOT of work and materials (many less than environmentally friendly) to build a vehicle.

roootbeer

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2018, 03:07:33 PM »
Most ANY new car will incur significantly more cost and impact on the environment than keeping your old car in good running condition and using it... long as possible. the 'best' vehicle is usually the one you already own. It takes a massive amount of energy/materials to build a new one. with the current one, that is already done.

Ecky

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2018, 03:15:04 PM »
Regardless of the environmental impact, it's worth noting that the Tesla model 3 is pretty widely accepted to be the safest vehicle on North American roads, by a wide margin. Google it if you're curious. The predicted rate of serious injury or death is significantly lower than many vehicles which have perfect 5 star crash ratings.

Cache_Stash

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2018, 04:28:22 PM »
replacing an existing [anything] which is completely functional and fairly efficient with a new [anything] that is more efficient is a bad plan. The negative environmental cost of producing a new, more efficient widget FAR outweighs the slight positive environment cost difference in usage. I've read articles stating the overall, it's more earth friendly to continue driving your 1979 pickup, getting 8mpg, than it is to trash it and buy a new Tesla.

You can weigh whether you should get an electric vs hybrid vs ICE vehicle once the existing Jetta is no longer functional, but any sooner than that, keeping and using what you already have is environmentally better nearly 100% of the time.

Not to pick on you but I'm skeptical of this kind of thinking.

Buying used, or selling used and buying new, doesn't change anything except shift the manufacturing around. For example, selling a 2014 Jetta to get a new Leaf puts the Jetta into the used car lot for someone else to buy. It doesn't get crushed or dumped into the ocean or parted out, as long as it's functional and sellable. If the 2014 Jetta is kept, then the future buyer of the Jetta would need to buy something else, and so on, until someone can't find what they want and end up buying new.

In other words, choosing to sell a functional used car doesn't create additional manufacturing. That'll happen regardless when suitable used cars can't be found to buy.

There's probably a lot more nuance to this and I'm open to criticism.

Building on your thought it would seem that those in need of a car that drive fewer miles should be buying used ICE vehicles.  Take them off the market and keep them from high mileage types who may end up buying an EV sooner than later.

Tester

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2018, 04:53:59 PM »
I don't get that, how come you feel morally obliged to buy an EV?
Wtf is that guy thinking?
I had enough of all the people who think they are smart and saving the planet by "not buying gas, you know how much carbon footprint a gallon of gas has??? I have a car which has zero emissions."
I think the only correct answer for that types of people is go fuck yourself.

singpolyma

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2018, 05:08:57 PM »
Most of the climate-change-causing emissions are produced by a large handful of large corporations. Nothing individuals can do will save the planet unless we can convince governments to stop them.

Ride your bike and be happy :)

Tester

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2018, 05:29:52 PM »
I have a minivan which is consuming a lot of gas.
I am not happy with that  but for now that is the best solution for our budget and health (being able to change diapers and change clothes for the older kid without breaking our backs comes a long way).
I am not deoving, biking to work.
I am looking forward for when our kids are bigger to replace it a ford cmax, but I will only do it if it makes sense financially and also environmentaly.
I agree that individuals can't do much, but if we all fo something it will still send a message.
That being said, "my car has zero emissions" triggers me so much that I almost have a stroke each time I hear it.
I even gave up on challenging people who think buying a 100000 usd car means they are saving the world.
Even with the Tesla 3, it is still too expensive.
I would like Tesla to succeed because it is a way of swnding a message to everyone that change can happen. But fir now I am not very optimistic on their chances of impacting the whole world.
I guess we'll see.

Duke03

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2018, 06:17:11 PM »
https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-rival-bmw-senior-exec-electric-car-battery-costs-nightmare/

It's not getting any better for EV..... Elon was good as far as pushing other car makers to offer EV and guess what?  They can do it better and cheaper than Tesla and will continue to take market share away from them.  I mean come on how long will someone wait for a car until they say enough and is enough and go buy one that is sitting on the lot that actually has a dealer network that you can get parts and service from.

If you really want to help the environment and your pocket book at the same time.  I'd look at the new diesels they are turning out to be the best overall solution to multiple problems.

FIRE47

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2018, 05:55:29 AM »
If you are buying a new Tesla every 2 years you might as well be buying ICE any less than 2 years you are making the problem worse due to the increased pollution in manufacturing, 2 years seems to be the breakeven for how long it takes the average driver to offset the increased manufacturing "costs" to the environment.

I'm going to have to do some digging/reading on this. Any sources where I might start? That doesn't seem right to me. It takes a LOT of work and materials (many less than environmentally friendly) to build a vehicle.

These facts were buying a new car ICE vs EV, not sure how long it would take to offset the fact that you have spawned an entirely new car into existence and werenít going to buy a car if you werenít going EV. Iím not so sure I buy that argument fully though either, you are driving demand but at the same time your other car being used by someone else is offsetting that in some way.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2018, 07:48:46 AM »
https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-rival-bmw-senior-exec-electric-car-battery-costs-nightmare/

It's not getting any better for EV..... Elon was good as far as pushing other car makers to offer EV and guess what?  They can do it better and cheaper than Tesla and will continue to take market share away from them.  I mean come on how long will someone wait for a car until they say enough and is enough and go buy one that is sitting on the lot that actually has a dealer network that you can get parts and service from.

If you really want to help the environment and your pocket book at the same time.  I'd look at the new diesels they are turning out to be the best overall solution to multiple problems.

I donít understand that response to that article. Whoís going to do best making EVs is upon the air (though Teslaís clearly in the lead right now), but if youíre buying a new car EVs are certainly the cleanest option.

Ducknald Don

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2018, 09:29:44 AM »
though Teslaís clearly in the lead right now

Nissan/Renault are pretty close if not ahead.

Hadilly

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2018, 06:28:12 PM »
Hirondelle: I appreciate your point about dropping the second car to model low car ownership for our kids. I will bring it up again with my husband. Certainly if the car was totaled in an accident tomorrow, we wouldnít replace it.

Ecky: thanks for the safety info. That is good to know.

Tester and Trmama: Well, CG is a high energy individual who definitely regards himself as an enthusiastic environmentalist. I think he sees the camping trips as a community building exercise, which it definitely was, and a chance to promote the environment, being in nature, and the Sierra Club. In all fairness, we live in an area where people spend lots of money on cars, so electric car ownership is not an unreasonable hobbyhorse to share with others.

Iím going to forward CG the article Hirondelle recommended and see what he thinks.

I really appreciate everyone who chimed in. I will try to do some more research about the environmental impact of new cars, shifting from a used gas car to a used EV, and so on. Will post again with the results.

In the meantime, I will keep biking, buying from the farmerís market and thrift store, and work on my goal of ditching single-use plastic... and wonít rush to the Tesla showroom!

pecunia

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2018, 06:40:28 PM »
No - Think outside the environmentally friendly box.  Get a huge diesel truck.  It must have dual tires at the rear.  You will need a lift kit.  You will need to go to aftermarket companies to bypass the unwanted environmental controls and obtain greater performance.  Get some bright off road LED lights.  It's time to free your thoughts of stifling environmental concerns.  Get with the mainstream.  People love their trucks.  You will love your truck.

The next camping trip  you will be able to give the campground person a broad smile as you look down at him with your new truck.  You can tell him, "Electric!  Electric!  I'll show you electric.  Then turn on your bright LED lights."

Hadilly

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Re: Am I morally obliged to get an electric car?
« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2018, 06:42:27 PM »
pecunia: Ha! I love it. If I knew someone who owned a truck like that, I would totally borrow for the next trip!