Not-So-Green Cars

The Wall Street Journal has a great article on the environmental impacts of green cars.

A 2012 comprehensive life-cycle analysis in Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that almost half the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to produce the car, especially the battery. The mining of lithium, for instance, is a less than green activity. By contrast, the manufacture of a gas-powered car accounts for 17% of its lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions.

Read the whole piece.

Remember the whole “Cash for Clunkers” fiasco a few years backā€¦ where the government gave people money to get their old cars off the road. Couple that policy with the government subsidies for electric cars and you’ve actually got a situation where the government is funding an overall bigger carbon footprint. The government is notorious for missing these kinds of unintended consequences.

In 2006, as gas prices were rising, the daily drive to work in my 4×4 Toyota was hurting the pocketbook with each fill up. I started looking around for an old Honda Civic to make my daily commute in. I bought a 1987 Honda Civic that consistently got around 38 miles-per-gallon. I paid $900. I was very cognizant of the fact that I was reducing my fuel consumption, keeping an older car on the road, and being far less wasteful. That was a far better stewardship of resources than anyone buying a brand-new Tesla.

We’ve got to start looking at the whole picture.

2 thoughts on “Not-So-Green Cars

  1. M Moore

    That and late 1980’s Honda Civics rock! You do realize your old Civic got better gas mileage than newer (mid-2000’s) Civics, right? I squeezed 50 mpg out of my old 1988 Honda Civic DX a couple times on long road trips back in the day.

    1. Joel Post author

      Yeah, Amy was driving a ’99 Civic when I bought the ’87 and I consistently got better mileage than her. I spent a couple tanks of gas in the ’87 driving as conservative as possible without the A/C and pulled off 42 mpg for one tank. Was pretty happy.

      You must have had a tailwind when you pulled off 51 mpg. =)


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