Electric cars are highly overrated as a means of tackling climate change, a renowned environmental policies expert has said, adding that subsidizing EVs is making things worse instead of better.
"Electric cars are this icon of us doing something about global warming," Bjorn Lomborg said in a recent interview with the Hoover Institution, a conservative policy and research think-tank. "Now remember, electric cars are actually good for the environment. They emit less CO2 on average -- even if they charge from a coal-fired power plant -- but not by very much, because you still have to build them."
Besides building them, you need to charge EVs regularly, and the power for this charging, globally, often comes from fossil fuel-powered plants. All this combines to make EVs a lot less environmentally friendly than their advertising says. What's more, EVs are still too expensive for most people.
"The electric vehicle is a very, very rich world phenomenon," Lomborg told the Hoover Institution's Peter Robinson.
"It's very much rich people in a rich world who are thinking, 'Oh, I have a house and I can just recharge my electric car in my garage.' What do all the people who live in apartments or in cities do? That's much, much harder. And then finally, of course, it's very costly right now. Electric cars are typically much more costly. That's why you need the subsidy. And so it's extra grating when you hear that this is going to help the world's poor or just the poor in the U.S. The reality, of course, is that most green subsidies go to the rich."
Indeed, some of the biggest markets for EVs globally are in affluent countries in Europe—with Norway the leader—where more of the population can afford a more expensive car, even with subsidies. True, European carmakers are doing everything in their power to make EVs cheaper, but subsidies are still essential for EV sales.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:
- Oil Extends Losses On Renewed Demand Concerns
- Saudi Arabia Must Prepare For More Attacks On Its Oil Industry
- Oil Prices Retreat As Biden Plans Major Federal Tax Hike