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Calahan Heidt

Mrs. DeBock

English 4 Honors

9 March 2017

Electric Cars

How can drivers save money from buying gasoline and greatly reduce driving emissions?

Gasoline and diesel cars are both costly to operate and emit toxic chemicals that negatively affect

the environment. Motorists should switch from driving fossil fuel powered cars to driving

electrically powered cars in order to save money and emit less traffic pollution.

In the audio podcast Living on Earth: Back to the Future with Electric Cars Gellerman

and Motavalli discuss the past, present, and future of electric cars. Electric cars were once seen

as slow and unreliable. This, however, is no longer the case. Since the advancement of modern

technology in the fields of computers, and engineering, electric cars have transformed from

being colf cart like, battery powered waggons for old ladies; to new age, modern day, everyday

driving machines (Living on Earth: Back to the Future with Electric Cars).

Electric Cars operate by converting electrical energy into mechanical energy. This

process is made possible by one or multiple small, electric motors that are powered by an

electrical charge. This initial electric charge is stored in lithium-ion batteries which can be

charged and recharged much like a laptop battery (Living on Earth: Back to the Future with

Electric Cars). The power for these batteries comes from power charging stations that are

installed in the owner's house. Power charging stations can even be found along the streets of

densely populated cities (Living on Earth: Back to the Future with Electric Cars). These power

stations are connected directly to a city's power grid (Electric cars emit zero tailpipe emissions).
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This means that an individual that is in possession of an electric car does not pay for fuel at a

pump, instead the owner would pay through their electric bill.

In the article Electric Vehicles Are Worthwhile Alternatives to Fossil-Fuel Vehicles

Kliesch states that, Electric cars emit zero tailpipe emissions. Although this is true, electric

cars do not come without their pollutants. The emissions of electric cars do not come from the

car itself but rather the power plants that power the charging stations. The true environmental

benefits of electric cars can vary depending on the type of power plant providing its power

(Driving an Electric Car Reduces Carbon Emissions and Fuel Costs). If an owner of an electric

car lives in a county where the electrical power source comes from an environmentally safe

source, such as wind or water, than the benefits of owning an electric car are greatly increased.

This is especially the case when compared with non-environmentally safe sources of power, such

as coal or fossil fuel energy (Kliesch). Notably, for an individual whose house is equipped with

solar panels it may, theoretically, be possible for them to power their electric car while producing

zero harmful emissions. Although the environmental benefits of using electric cars may differ

compared with one another, the positive effects of electric cars compared to gasoline powered

cars are cogent.

A normal motor car is powered by an internal combustion engine. Invented in the late

1800s, the internal combustion engine operates by using pistons to draw a mixture of oxygen and

fuel into the cylinders. This mixture is then compressed and ignited in order to facilitate an

explosion that is, in turned, converted into mechanical energy by way of a crankshaft (Auto ID).

Apart from mechanical energy other products are produced in this processed. The combustion

process emits engine exhaust that contains a number of pollutants, including (but not limited to)

carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (Kliesch). These
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emissions are harmful to the environment and sometimes may even be toxic to humans. The

health risks of carbon monoxide can be seen in large cities such as Beijing, China. Citizens in

Beijing are advised to wear breathing masks when outside. This precaution is taken in order to

lessen the effects of the carbon monoxide pollution or smog (Kaplan) on the citizens

respiratory systems. Other contamination caused by internal combustion engines, such as

particulate matter, can lead to sood in the air which can limit visibility and take away from the

visual aesthetics of the surrounding environment. Examples of this can be seen in highly

populated Asian Countries, such as India and China. In these countries the amount of motorists

on the road has increased dramatically within the past few years. This rapid flux of motorists has

not allowed time for proper motor vehicle regulations to be set in place.

On top of being more environmentally friendly, electric cars are also more efficient than

traditional motor cars. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, electric cars have a

seventy five percent efficiency rate. In contrast, gasoline powered cars have an efficiency rate of

twenty percent (Kliesch). There are various reasons as to why motor vehicles have such poor

efficiency rates. One comes with the combustion of the engine. The thermal energy involved

with this process escapes in the form of heat. As opposed to this energy being used to propel the

vehicle, this energy escapes (Auto ID). Not nearly this much heat is produced by an electric

motor. This means that they can use that energy for propulsion. In older gasoline cars much of

the power is lost in the engine because of friction. A gasoline engine has many moving parts.

These parts combined create a lot of friction inside the engine. Friction creates inefficiencies in

an engine by allowing parts to rub together (Auto ID). A motor from an electric car has very few

moving parts. This means that less parts will rub together, in turn, creating less friction inside the

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Apart from being environmentally friendly and efficient, electric vehicles are a more

frugal alternative to today's popular motor cars. Even the most efficient of motor vehicles pale in

comparison when compared to the money an individual will save from buying an electric car. It

costs about three cents per mile to operate an electric car (Kliesch). This is assuming that the

average electricity rate of the average American is ten cents per kilowatt of power. (Kliesch).

With the national average price of gasoline at two dollars and sixty cents a gallon and the

average car getting twenty five miles to the gallon that adds up to almost ten cents per mile. This

being the case, a motor car cost over three what an electric car costs to operate (Kliesch). As the

world increases its oil dependency and gas prices steepen more and more people are going to

turn to electric cars as a frugal alternative to natural gas burning automobiles.

Electric cars are a fuel efficient alternative to motor vehicles. This is attributed to their

reliance on electricity, be it solar or wind energy. Electric cars are also better for the environment

than gasoline powered cars. Lastly, electric cars are a financially sound alternative to motor cars

because they do not use expensive gasoline. In order to save money and emit less traffic

pollution, motorists should switch from driving fossil fuel powered cars to driving electrically

powered cars.

Work Cited

Auto ID. Auto Repair Reference Center , HCS Smart Search, Accessed 22 Feb. 2017.
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"Driving an Electric Car Reduces Carbon Emissions and Fuel Costs." What Is the Impact of


Practices?, edited by Tamara Thompson, Greenhaven Press, 2016. At Issue. Opposing

Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 21 Feb. 2017. Originally published as "State of Charge:

Electric Vehicles Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United

States,", June 2012.

Kaplan, Siena, et al. "Plug-in Electric Vehicles Will Reduce Air Pollution." Pollution, edited by

Louise I. Gerdes, Greenhaven Press, 2011. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints

in Context, Accessed 22 Feb. 2017. Originally published as, "Charging Ahead: Curbing

Oil Consumption with Plug-in Cars," Environment Maryland Research and Policy

Center, 2010, pp. 7-14.

Kliesch, James. "Why Electric Cars Are Cleaner." Hybrid and Electric Cars, edited by Louise I.

Gerdes, Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 21

Feb. 2017. Originally published in Mother Earth News, vol. 58, 2011.

Kliesch, James. "Electric Vehicles Are Worthwhile Alternatives to Fossil-Fuel Vehicles."

Renewable Energy, edited by David M. Haugen and Susan Musser, Greenhaven Press,

2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 22 Feb. 2017.

Originally published as "Why Electric Cars Are Cleaner," Mother Earth News, vol. 244,

Feb.-Mar. 2011, pp. 58-64.

"Living on Earth: Back to the Future with Electric Cars." Living on Earth, 11 Nov. 2011.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 22 Feb. 2017

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