Climate change is a global problem from our use of fossil fuels, such as oil. Reducing transportation related greenhouse gas emissions is one solution. In 2016, about 92% of the energy used by the United States transportation sector came from petroleum (oil) products and 95% from fossil fuels. Electricity provided less than 1% of the energy used. Many agree that we are currently on the cusp of peak oil, a point when oil production reaches its maximum after which it will gradually decline. Regardless of climate change, we need to reduce our petroleum use.
Individuals can and should take public transportation to reduce their emissions. However, public transportation is not available everywhere, particularly for long distance trips, or in rural areas. Individuals can drive an all-electric vehicle (EV) for these situations. Electric cars have almost four times lower CO2 emissions per mile than an equivalent gas-powered car. This is because EVs are about three times more efficient at converting energy into power than conventional gasoline vehicles and can get the equivalent of over 100 miles per gallon. When powered with 100% renewable energy, they are emission free. Previously, affordable EVs only had a short range of about 100 miles, which limited their market. Now, there are two affordable EVs with a greater then 200-mile range, the Tesla Model 3 (stylized Model ☰) and the Chevy Bolt. The Model 3 will cost about $35,000 before the $7,500 federal tax credit and releases later this year. The currently available Bolt will cost $37,500 before the tax credit. In addition, some state incentives and credits further decrease cost of each. The Model 3 will also be available with larger battery packs for more range. Electric motors are simpler; having fewer moving parts and thus requires less maintenance than internal combustion engines. This saves the user additional money. EVs typically cost over three times less per mile to drive than gasoline vehicles and if your home has solar power, they can be free to charge.
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