The Mirage of Electric Vehicles

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

For those who think that electric vehicles make a difference … think again.

The Department of Energy’s Argonne National Lab has just released a study showing that in 2021, US privately-owned plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) “saved about 690 million gallons of gasoline.”

But that is a huge exaggeration because fossil fuels provide 61% of the electricity in the US, and we have to include:

  • the inefficiency of burning coal or natural gas to make electricity (around 45% or so)
  • transmission losses (~ 5%),
  • losses in the inverter to charge the battery (another ~5%).

… so less than a third of that apparent savings is a real reduction in fossil fuel use, the equivalent of maybe 230 million gallons.

The Argonne report also says that from 2010 to 2021, EVs have saved 2.5 billion gallons of gas. So let’s be generous and say that in 11 years, EVs have saved less than a third of that, the equivalent of about 750 million gallons of gas.

Now that sure sounds like a lot of gasoline, three-quarters of a billion gallons.

However, as always, a sense of perspective is required. The US uses about 370 million gallons of gas per day … so that’s only about two days’ worth of gas.

I say again. Over the last eleven years, electric vehicles in the US have saved Two. Days. Worth. Of. Gasoline.

Hmmm …

And how much has that cost?

Direct taxpayer subsidies for EVs have cost you and me $10 billion dollars to date, and we’re on the hook for more. The government just extended the EV subsidy until 2032 and removed the cap on the number of vehicles eligible for the subsidy.

It gets worse. The US government also just approved spending an additional $7.5 billion of taxpayer money on EV charging stations.

So to date, we’re spending TWENTY-THREE DOLLARS for each gallon of gasoline saved … economic suicide.

Who is benefitting from this lunatic waste of taxpayer money? The richest 20% of the US population, of course. Surely you don’t think the actions of the climate activists would benefit the poor?

According to research from the University of California at Berkeley, 90% of the tax credits accrue to America’s top income quintile. A May 2019 Congressional Research Service report found that 78% of the tax credit’s recipients had an adjusted gross income of $100,000 per year or more.

On top of that, we have to consider the fact that the $7,500 per electric vehicle subsidy is a tax credit, not a direct payment … so unless you’re paying more than $7,500 in Federal taxes, you don’t get the full credit. For lower-income people, this means they may only get a kilobuck or so. How upside-down is that? The richer you are, the larger the subsidy you get for buying a mostly fossil-powered sparky car! Say what?

It’s nothing but a money-transfer scam to benefit the wealthy. Lower and middle-class people are paying for the vanity-signaling EVs of doctors, CEOs, lawyers, and politicians.

And how well are the electric vehicles selling? Here’s how people think they are selling, compared to how they are actually selling.

Note that the electric car data in the graphic above (yellow/black line) is the same in both panels …

There’s a much larger problem with EVs, however—we’re rapidly running out of both the generation capacity and the grid capacity to recharge them. California can’t even keep the lights on, and our insane Governor’s response is to forbid selling gasoline-powered cars after 2035 …

… and meanwhile, Switzerland is already having to bite the EV bullet. If current European energy shortages continue, they plan to ban EVs from anything but “essential” journeys this winter …

Not only that, but going to a “net-zero” all-electric economy by 2050, as many people advocate, is economically, physically, and politically impossible. I discuss this in my post “Bright Green Impossibilities“.

The problem with electric vehicles is that they are a hugely expensive imaginary solution to an imaginary problem. There is no “climate crisis”, that’s just a lie to keep people scared and compliant. I go over the facts in my post “Where Is The Climate Emergency“. I’ve posted it all over the web, and no one has found a single flaw in it.

Unless we can stop the insane war on fossil fuels, it is going to bankrupt us all, driving energy costs through the roof, leaving low-income people shivering in the winter, and denying poor countries the energy they need to escape grinding poverty. For details about how this plays out down at the bottom of the economic ladder, see my post “We Have Met The 1%, And He Is Us“.

Grrrr …


As Always: I ask that when you comment, you quote the exact words you’re discussing. This avoids endless misunderstandings as to what and who is being discussed.

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Tom Halla
December 6, 2022 10:07 am

Only ten billion? I would have thought more.

December 6, 2022 10:16 am

Bravo Willis !!!

December 6, 2022 10:17 am

I appreciate the way that you summarize the issue and put into perspective – A. 2 days of gasoline saved; B. $23 cost per gallon saved.
However, it is unlikely that anyone in the Media will pick up the fact that taxpayers are paying $23 for every gallon of gasoline saved. I have found that the Media and the Climate Alarmists have no interest in facts that may be relevant to the decisions that are being made regarding Climate Change.

Reply to  rwbenson66
December 6, 2022 12:11 pm

Not only is it only w days worth of gas/diesel, most of the power that is used to power electric cars is coming from natural gas or coal fired power plants.

Reply to  rwbenson66
December 6, 2022 12:41 pm

It would have been more beneficial to offer people $5 for every litre saved. Even if this offer is rorted 4:1, the money spent wold still be more effective.

Would you accept $5 to walk a few kms?

December 6, 2022 10:28 am

Do you want proof that we need to elect far-fewer technically-illiterate politicians worldwide? Here in New Zealand, our ex-burger-bar helper Prime Minister has declared “no more petrol- or diesel-fuelled cars to be sold after 2035”, without any suggestion of proof of any cause or even the existence of that elusive “climate emergency”! I think she should be the first person to volunteer to cease emiting her own carbon dioxide output!

Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 6, 2022 10:56 am

Lead by example?

Don’t be stupid.

Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 6, 2022 11:24 am

One could give Jabcinda a carbon dioxide self collecting device (plastic Bag) complete with self adhesive to stop those annoying leaks

Reply to  HB
December 6, 2022 1:46 pm

Good idea. But she needs two bags, one for each end.

Reply to  Denis
December 7, 2022 2:08 pm

And she needs another opaque bag over each one in case the first one breaks.

Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 6, 2022 2:31 pm

She can of course say that, because she will have long departed NZ politics by then. If she continues to follow her main, if not stated objective, the Mahuta family, and associated ethnic aristocrats will be firmly in charge – and I dont see them giving up their Mercedes, Bentleys etc.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  davidf
December 6, 2022 3:03 pm

“She can of course say that, because she will have long departed NZ politics by then”

Yes, a lot of things can happen between now and 2035.

My guess is Net Zero will be a thing of the past by then, if not sooner.

Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 6, 2022 3:25 pm

And see a competent dentist.

Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 6, 2022 3:35 pm

All, or just new ones? If all, sounds like a Government taking of value.

December 6, 2022 10:30 am

It isn’t only the numpty-economics. A man down the street has a Mini EV. He has a charger at the front of his house and as long as he can park outside his house he can charge up

And when he can’t? He runs a bog standard domestic extension cable to it

The whole thing is bonkers

Reply to  strativarius
December 6, 2022 11:00 am

If you live in the UK you might want to point that running an electric cable across a pavement is illegal.

Reply to  HotScot
December 6, 2022 12:44 pm

I saw a car charging on the street recently in a neighborhood of single family homes with yards. They had an 80′ heavy cable running from the garage to the street.

I was baffled as to why they wouldn’t just charge the car in their driveway.

I only realized later that they are probably a multi-car family and charging the electric car in the driveway would block that route for extended periods of time and be a huge inconvenience.

(The other option I thought of, is that charging your electric car in the street with a conspicuous cable might be the ultimate in virtue signaling to your neighbors to demonstrate your superior morality!)

Reply to  pillageidiot
December 6, 2022 1:25 pm

The possibility of spontaneous combustion would be a very good reason for charging well away from the house and driveway.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 13, 2022 1:52 pm

Tesla has never had a “spontaneous combustion” problem however
the Chevy Bolt has and GM still hasn’t fixed the problem according to this owner.
Angry Bolt Owner.
GM still recommends that you keep the Bolt out of a garage or any indoor parking!

Meanwhile: Tesla Vehicle Fire Data – 2012-2021

“From 2012 – 2021, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 210 million miles travelled. By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in the United States there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles travelled.”

Which means that you are 11 times more likely to die in a fire from a vehicle filled with gasoline or diesel than a Tesla!

Statistically, Tesla Car Fires Are Less
In one of fires, the driver of the car didn’t know where the door handle was!

Tesla Door handle.jpg
Reply to  pillageidiot
December 6, 2022 3:37 pm

We have neighbors who charge their Teslas in their driveway with an extension cord running under the garage door. At least they use a heavy-duty cord.

Reply to  pillageidiot
December 6, 2022 7:45 pm

Public health and safety issue running a live cable across a public footpath.

December 6, 2022 10:35 am

“Not only that, but going to a “net-zero” all-electric economy by 2050, as many people advocate, is economically, physically, and politically impossible.”

Let’s assume trying to get there at a faster than reasonable policy speed creates 1) a more volatile economy with more inflation-recession cycles and 2) higher long term interest rates to fund uncontrolled deficit spending and debt service. Both of these assumptions imply higher fossil fuel consumption as compensation for assaults on household prosperity–Families must work harder to stay in place without Latin American style inflation implosion while EVs remain out of reach or impractical. We also need to factor in multiple impacts such as we’re seeing today in Europe with declining competitiveness, rising utility bills, declining currency, and greater reliance on sovereign debt.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 6, 2022 3:39 pm

Even if it all gets reversed at a later date, industrial concerns are already planning to build up their EV-manufacturing capacity. Lots of money wasted if it becomes “oh, never mind”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 6, 2022 8:54 pm

If you design your industrial plans on the continuation of a government subsidy, you deserve anything bad that happens.

abolition man
December 6, 2022 10:42 am

Thanks for the breakdown, Willis!
It seems quite clear that the greatest benefactors of GangGreen and the EV scam are our wealthy elites and China! I can’t wait for little St. Nick to magically appear and explain to us ignoramuses how you are wrong and what “The Truth” actually is! That’s always good for a laugh or two.

December 6, 2022 10:46 am

“Unless we can stop the insane war on fossil fuels, it is going to bankrupt us all, driving energy costs through the roof, leaving low-income people shivering in the winter, and denying poor countries the energy they need to escape grinding poverty.”

Bankrupting, reducing living standards and reducing population are the objectives of the schemes. You have to realize that humans are a plague on a “beautiful planet”.

December 6, 2022 10:51 am

I think under certain circumstances EV’s make sense*.

They are used primarily for short trips of perhaps 50 miles or so a day (which eliminates ‘high mileage’ Tesla’s etc).Users have access to off road parking to charge them from a domestic source (45% of UK households don’t have off road parking).They are used in favourable, warm weather or the discharge is too high (even with Tesla’s etc.)They don’t spontaneously combust (in which case off road parking is desirable, see point 2.)The public charging network will evolve across the planet between now and 2035, when the petroleum industry took 120 years to evolve the reliable global network of gas stations.National electricity grids can be built to capacity by 2035, having taken 150 years or so to evolve to the parlous state they are in now.Tax regimes to mimic those imposed on ICE vehicles are introduced immediately to have EV’s compete on a level playing field with ICE vehicles.All politicians jump off a bridge.Unlike meekly complying to a covid jab, perceptibly, vehicular travel plays a vital and large part of our daily existence. I suspect resistance will be met in this ridiculous bureaucratic endeavour to have people conform to ideological nirvana.

*The list is by no means exhaustive.

Last edited 1 month ago by HotScot
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  HotScot
December 6, 2022 11:16 am

They don’t spontaneously combust (in which case off road parking is desirable,

What will happen to home and car fire insurance rates for EV owners after many EVs erupt into flames while being charged in a garage attached to a home or duplex apartment?

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  HotScot
December 6, 2022 1:31 pm

In other words, they don’t make sense.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 6, 2022 2:46 pm

Well, they do under certain, restricted circumstances.

We still have electric ‘Milk Floats’ which are vehicles run by early morning, door stop milk delivery services. They have a predictable, regular route which has limited contact with traffic. They reach only 20mph (roughly) but stop almost house by house so the delivery man can walk to the householders doorstep to leave a pre paid for bottle of milk (or more).

They are quiet, start and stop instantly, charge over 12 hours or so following the delivery period, have an open cab and a flatbed rear with no sides so goods can be accessed easily, and they are economical and emissions free.

But I wouldn’t drive one from London to Glasgow (400 miles or so) as I regularly do in an ICE vehicle.

milk float.jpeg
Reply to  HotScot
December 6, 2022 3:53 pm

The problem is that those “limited circumstances” would have to be the only thing you use a car for. Otherwise you will need two cars. One for “limited circumstances” and the other for the real world.

Reply to  MarkW
December 6, 2022 6:05 pm

And the milk van very likely uses lead-acid batteries and not exotic expensive Li-etcetera.

Reply to  karlomonte
December 7, 2022 3:12 am

Indeed they are.

Reply to  MarkW
December 7, 2022 3:11 am


Reply to  HotScot
December 6, 2022 3:43 pm

Towards the end, I realized that /sarc was intended. Note, by the way, that we in the US had a “… reliable … network of gas stations” when I was a mere lad, 50 years ago. Didn’t tek 120 years at all. But, then, I suspect that you were being hyperbolic.

December 6, 2022 10:52 am

The only electric vehicles that make any sense to me are either Aurora AFX or Tyco brands!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  clougho
December 6, 2022 12:01 pm

I have fond memories of my toy electric train set way back in the late ’50s. It was a Lionel. I’m tempted to buy another one.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 6, 2022 2:44 pm

Back in my day I preferred American Flyers. They were much more natural with their 2 rail tracks. Lionel had 3 rail tracks :<)

Reply to  Joe Crawford
December 6, 2022 7:41 pm

Still wish I had the American Flyer Alco PA-1A and B diesels with the Santa Fe ‘warbonnet’ paint, plus the stainless-steel passenger cars. Beautiful trains!

Rud Istvan
December 6, 2022 10:55 am

There is another ‘tiny’ EV reality problem. There aren’t enough lithium and cobalt ore reserves to make the global fleet EV—even IF the grid could support it and the economics made sense, which they cannot and don’t.
And so far Tesla’s battery recycling efforts have succeeded (nevermind cost) in recovering the aluminum and copper and nickel but NOT the lithium or cobalt.

When you cannot get there from here it is best not to foolishly try. Which says something about Biden, Newsom, and Ahern.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 6, 2022 11:58 am

Yes, it says, quite clearly I might ad, that they are all demented, and want all of US to join them in their insanity! Thanks, but NO THANKS!

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 6, 2022 2:38 pm

EVs in Europe are likely to have a 10% uplift in purchase cost due to EU tariff changes in 2024 – if they are unaffordable rubbish now, they will be more so soon

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 6, 2022 3:45 pm

Rud, the rest of us are just consigned to mass transit, bicycling, or walking.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 7, 2022 1:49 am

And living in corralled communities such as Oxford City.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 7, 2022 2:38 pm

I read the Argonne National Lab report and nothing was mentioned about worldwide lithium and cobalt reserves or the costs of extraction.

December 6, 2022 10:56 am

Lower and middle-class people are paying for the vanity-signaling EVs of doctors, CEOs, lawyers, and politicians.

It’s Dennis Moore Time!

All together now
🎶 🎶
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Riding through the land
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Without a merry band
He steals from the poor
And gives to the rich
Stupid bitch🎶

Reply to  Redge
December 6, 2022 11:27 am

New Zealand version James Shaw
James Shaw, James Shaw
Riding through the land
James Shaw,James Shaw
Without a merry band
He steals from the poor
And gives to the rich
Stupid bitch

Thanks Monty Python

December 6, 2022 11:01 am

If the next wave of EV sales is for second or third cars in a household for novelty short trips, we will add wealth to insurance agents, govt. revenues, electricians, and utilities. They in turn will spend more on consumption including fossil fuel travel, road improvements, and more trucks. I think we’re in for a series of unforeseen impacts that don’t match policy bragging points.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 6, 2022 12:02 pm

Just a thought here. If we WERE able to end petroleum production, how would we then pave our roads? Or produce the MANY plastic products the world currently needs or even the very medicines that many of us certainly need? ALL of these things are made from petroleum!

Reply to  IAMPCBOB
December 6, 2022 12:15 pm

If it’s not on the short and medium range advocacy roadmap or in political talking points, it does not exist and the silence will be reinforced by permanently biased media groups (NBC, NPR, etc.).

Reply to  IAMPCBOB
December 6, 2022 3:49 pm

When I lived in Texas, there was no state income tax. The state received a payment for every barrel of oil pumped out of the ground (and I suspect, for every litre of natural gas). If the US ends petroleum production, then Texas will have to impose an income tax.

Also, in travels in the Carribean, we were told that the island received barges full of oil and gasoline, as they had no source on the island. (Yes, they were burning oil for electricity). And end to petroleum production is going to hurt.

Also, Juneau, Alaska, receives barges full of petroleum products to for its use. Gonna hurt.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 6, 2022 10:36 pm

The state could do what all of the food companies are doing now and simply make 45 gallon drums instead of 55 gallon drums. Shrink the package and charge the same. It’s the new progressive way to fight inflation!

Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 6, 2022 12:09 pm

Which is what generally occurs when government gets involved.

Reply to  barryjo
December 7, 2022 10:36 am

As per Milton Friedman, if the socialists ran North Africa, in 5 years there would be a shortage of sand

Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 6, 2022 2:54 pm

I think we’re in for a series of unforeseen impacts that don’t match policy bragging points.
Isnt that pretty much business as usual for our ruling class?

December 6, 2022 11:02 am

EV is a scam pure and simple since the numerous weaknesses of the industry are too well known to think this was ever a legitimate product for the masses that justified the “investment” where most of it benefits the rich while the rest of us gets poorer and poorer over time.

All this based on the climate scam they also pushing hard since that increases their power over you.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sunsettommy
Reply to  Sunsettommy
December 6, 2022 3:50 pm

EVs aren’t for the masses. Never have been.

December 6, 2022 11:04 am

Just wait for the next round of cost saving, planned obsolescence dictates from the accountants overseeing the EV segment. Who needs door handles in an EV fire anyway. /sarc

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 6, 2022 11:30 am

It might be reasonable to replace door handles with ejection seats triggered automatically by a fire.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 6, 2022 12:03 pm

Yeah, and landing is optional, right?

Reply to  IAMPCBOB
December 6, 2022 12:46 pm

I think gravity is a little more pervasive than that. Optional, not likely.

Softly, not probable.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 6, 2022 12:16 pm

Avoid tunnels with low ceilings

December 6, 2022 11:05 am

Willis –

Another way to look at this is the 20 million tons of CO2 allegedly “saved” by EVs through 2021 at a cost of over $10 billion comes to $500/metric ton. And, the $10 billion does not include state subsidies for vehicles, home/business charging stations, and highway chargers.

December 6, 2022 11:11 am

Would the next Jan. 6th protestors please make it worth their while spent incarcerated and prosecuted……..

As well hung for a sheep as a lamb.

Reply to  HotScot
December 6, 2022 1:27 pm

Can you restate that, please?

Reply to  Moriarty
December 6, 2022 1:35 pm

Yeah, I was just thinking we need a translator.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  renbutler
December 7, 2022 9:26 am

Не могли бы следующие протестующие 6 января окупить потраченное в заключении и судебном преследовании…….. Так же хорошо повесили овцу, как ягненка.

Reply to  Moriarty
December 7, 2022 3:10 am

If the Jan 6th protestors are going to get locked up for wandering about harmlessly, next time the might as well make it worth their while and actually rise up against the Biden government.

Writing Observer
Reply to  HotScot
December 6, 2022 2:53 pm

Well, I understood that perfectly.

Of course, the political prisoners didn’t completely realize that they were up against a junta, not politicians.

December 6, 2022 11:38 am

Can we get a credit on the editorial cartoon? Looks like Gary Varvel. I’m a big fan.

December 6, 2022 11:48 am

Since you show that EV subsidies are not economic, why don’t the politicians spend even more to push EVs? Norway is spending about $10,000 per vehicle in tax breaks, subsidies and loss of carbon taxes to attain about 20% EVs in their active fleet. The US is a piker by comparison.
My point is, this is not about economics, it is about moral busy bodies. So why not go all in and just give every household an EV? Just because it is ruiness to the economy doesn’t sway moral busy bodies. For a mere $5T we could all have a free EV and feel morally justified.

Reply to  kvt1100
December 7, 2022 4:38 am

Norway can afford these generous subsidies because of its fossil fuel exports. No irony there, then.

December 6, 2022 11:50 am

We should not be playing the CO2 scare-monger game, because CO2, methane, N2O have minimal influence on global warming.
See Appendix of URL

The inconvenient truth is the 8-yr CO2 emissions of a high-efficiency gasoline vehicle that gets 35 mpg, per EPA, is about the same as of an EV with a 75 kWh battery (about the minimum required in cold New England climates), with an annual average of 0.32 kWh/mile, if one considers the:

1) Upstream CO2 from mining, ore refining, transport, battery pack assembly, vehicle assembly, transport to user.
2) Driving CO2, which depends on the New England grid slowly having less CO2/kWh
3) Disposal CO2, which would include hazardous waste disposal of at least the batteries of EVs

Would battery disposal be in Vermont, or would batteries be shipped to another state for disposal?

The useful service life of an EV battery is at most 8 years

In normal us, EVs should not be discharged below 20% and charged above 80%
On rare occasions, such as rare, a long trip with an EV, the discharge is allowed to be to 10 % and charge to 90%

The replacement cost of a 75 kWh battery is at least $15,000 to $20,000, including labor, with near-zero likelihood of the cost decreasing, because of high energy and materials costs and general inflation.
No one with any sanity would put a new battery in an 8-y old EV

Therefore, all EV and gasoline vehicle comparisons must be based on 8 years, even though the life of gasoline vehicles is at least 11 years.

Also, EVs are driven about 9000 miles/y, because of range limitations, whereas gasoline vehicles are driven about 12000 miles per year

Therefore, all EV and gasoline vehicle comparisons must be based on 8 y x 9000 miles/y = 72,000 miles, which would make it very difficult for EVs with 75 kWh batteries to have less LIFETIME CO2 than a 35 gpm gasoline vehicle.

NOTE: If you have not noticed, there has been near-zero wind and solar electricity from 1:00 am to about 9 am, on November 30, 2022, in New England.

I verified it by checking the ISO-NE Dashboard, Resource Mix Graph, in the morning.

What would power all these future heat pumps and EVs?

Resource/energy-poor Europe’s insanity of doing without plentiful, reliable LOW-COST Russian coal, oil, and nat gas, and relying on the very expensive, unreliable, weather-dependent, wind/solar/battery fantasy, was on display big time in 2021, well before the Ukraine events, and in 2022.

It will be keenly felt during the 2022/2023 winter, and future winters for at least the next 4 to 5 years.

Resource/energy-rich US should learn a lesson from Europe’s wind/solar/battery fantasy, instead of blindly following the Biden-dead-end, wind/solar/battery fantasy, by wasting a lot of money, that would be better spent on 100 new, 2,200 MW (2 units per site), zero-CO2, nuclear plants, to reliably power future heat pumps and EVs.

Most of the new plants would be located at existing nuclear plant sites to minimize cost of grid upgrades.

Last edited 1 month ago by wilpost
Reply to  wilpost
December 6, 2022 1:30 pm

It’s not about carbon dioxide, methane, greenhouse gasses or the climate. Let’s stop playing that game.

Reply to  Moriarty
December 7, 2022 7:35 am

You are repeating my opening sentence

CO2 is a weak GW gas that becomes easily saturated at the frequency it absorbs energy.

The existing CO2 in the atmosphere, 412 ppm at present, is almost fully saturated, so that CO2, an enormous quantity, cannot absorb much more energy for GW.

Each year, humans adding more new CO2 to the atmosphere is only a few percent of the new CO2 added by nature

All of the new CO2 will very quickly become saturated as it absorbs energy

Reply to  wilpost
December 7, 2022 8:07 am

The new CO2 addition from all sources is about 3 ppm on top of the existing of 412 ppm, per MLO.
The human part of all sources is a few percent of 3 ppm

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  wilpost
December 6, 2022 1:41 pm

Should read “to reliably provide electricity.” Heat pumps are expensive and only practical in relatively warm climates, and EVs are worse-than-useless.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 7, 2022 7:35 am

I have three heat pumps, with 6 outlets.
They work great for cooling
For heating, I turn them off at 15F and below, because they would cost more per hour than using my propane furnace; I measured the energy flows

EVs, mostly Teslas, are expensive virtue-signaling devices for higher-income folks

Reply to  wilpost
December 7, 2022 10:58 am

I only have one and no propane furnace – but my fireplace actually keeps things warm enough I don’t need to use it much anyway..

Reply to  Tony_G
December 7, 2022 3:12 pm

An open fireplace? Where in the US?
It has negative efficiency

Reply to  wilpost
December 7, 2022 5:32 pm

Well it was efficient enough to keep us from freezing for 3 days without power in 15-30F weather a couple winters ago, so I’ll take it.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  wilpost
December 7, 2022 9:07 am

The average age of registered vehicles in the US is over 12 years old. That would be 1 1/2 EVs per ICEV.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
December 7, 2022 3:13 pm

Thank you
I w I’ll re vise my article

December 6, 2022 12:01 pm

We are wintering in Florida. Plenty of EV’s. No doors, awning for shade, often seen with clubs in the back. Deep cycle lead acid batteries.

Yet just this morning got stuck behind one in the state park when the battery went flat on the EV ahead. All out to push it off the path.

December 6, 2022 12:02 pm

Let’s play the rich-poor simulation game for another 15 years to see what happens.
1) policy push toward net zero will the inflationary
2) inflation will hurt the poor and middle class most
3) more frequent inflation-recession cycles will hurt career development, savings, and overall income attainment
4) periodic stimulus surges will further the inflation spiral while buying some elections
5) debt relief programs for utility bills, student debt, food subsidies, mortgage debt, renter debt, and credit card debt will only limit access unless the government also replaces private options in mass
6) free healthcare for all will be bottom up from increased poverty via Medicaid
7) Tax credit mining will be rampant as calls for higher tax rates on corporate and individual payers approaches 80 percent–this skews risk taking and diverts more resources in policy dead ends
8) The assault on savings of all types and property will be unstoppable in the great shaking called for by UN agencies to redistribute

Curious George
December 6, 2022 12:06 pm

To get a hands-on experience with an EV, I went to rent a Tesla 3. The rental place had a policy that you have to return the Tesla charged at 70% minimum. They did not have a manual, so I walked around the car several times and could not get in. A manager showed me how to open the door. Inside there was a nice interactive display. One menu item was “Charging”, but it did not show any percentage of charge (but it showed “43 miles”, probably where the percentage should be). There was a nice interactive manual how to use the car – but the inside of the car did not look like pictures in the manual. The manager came again, started the car, and the display showed a message LOW BATTERY in big red letters. That’s all my hands-on experience.

Van Doren
December 6, 2022 12:07 pm

Another take on the data: 2.1 billion gallons of gas saved us 20 Mt of CO2 = 0.0026 ppm = 4 µK of warming. ))

Last edited 1 month ago by Van Doren
Van Doren
Reply to  Van Doren
December 6, 2022 12:15 pm

This also means that to prevent 1 K of warming, we must spend 100 times the GDP of the United States.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Van Doren
December 6, 2022 2:00 pm

And that’s STILL only a PURELY HYPOTHETICAL “prevention of warming, since CO2 has never been empirically shown to cause warming.

Not to mention warming is BENEFICIAL.

Van Doren
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 7, 2022 6:29 am

Warming is of course beneficial, but you cannot claim we have no proof for the CO2 being a greenhouse gas. Just look at the longwave radiation chart at the ToA – CO2 emissions have a much lower temperature.

December 6, 2022 12:09 pm

“The problem with electric vehicles is that they are a hugely expensive imaginary solution to an imaginary problem.”

Or as I like to say, A solution that doesn’t work, for a problem that doesn’t exist.

Reply to  MarkW
December 6, 2022 5:37 pm

aka…a solution looking for a problem. 🙂

Henry Pool
December 6, 2022 12:27 pm
December 6, 2022 12:59 pm

An abundance of caution yields an abundance of profit

Joe Shaw
Reply to  Mark Shulgasser
December 6, 2022 4:15 pm

An abundance of caution yields an abundance absence of profit.

Fixed it for ya.

December 6, 2022 1:19 pm

Not even mentioned is the exorbitant up-front costs and cost of ownership of EVs.

A Ford F-150 XLT (very nicely equipped) sells for $52,000 (MSRP), while the F-150 EV goes for upwards of $110,000 and burns through battery charge when trying to tow anything.

A plain Jane Tesla 3 costs the far side of $60,000, while a similarly equipped mid-sized sedan (Toyota Camry or Honda Accord) can be had for about $30,000.

Once governing authorities figure out how to levy road use taxes and charging fees on EVs, the EV buyers will never break even on the difference in price between ICE cars and EVs. For the present, EVs are just virtue signaling and tax breaks for the wealthy. EVs will have to be FAR cheaper before your average Joe could afford one.

Reply to  pflashgordon
December 6, 2022 3:04 pm

Road user charges, for what its worth, have existed and work well on diesel vehicles of all types in New Zealand. All that is required is political will.

Reply to  pflashgordon
December 6, 2022 3:56 pm

It’s OK. The Solo has just been announced – a single-seat commuter car, for $US19,000. Plus GM intends to offer 15 different EV models over the next few years. They will be cheap.

Joe Shaw
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 6, 2022 4:54 pm

Cheap compared to other EVs or cheap compared to comparable vehicles with ICE powertrains?

What would the Solo cost with a 56 hp gasoline engine? For reference the 2022 1.0L 89 hp fortwo “smart” car MSRP is $14,650.

Reply to  pflashgordon
December 7, 2022 8:19 am

I don’t own one, but looking at specs, the new hybrids (say 2023 Prius for example) seem to be a good functional peppy vehicle while having excellent mileage, and a battery small enough that it is affordable to replace in 8 years and has ICE backup for those longer trips.

Cost of batteries is something that makes electric forklifts worth scrap metal price on the used market, and the same is coming for electric cars…..

December 6, 2022 1:27 pm

Here is a hint of “Things to Come”

1) consumer bills
According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), roughly 20 million households in the U.S. — one out of six homes — are behind on their utility bills.
As of August, these families owe about $16.1 billion in total, with an average amount owed of $788 — and the consequences of this could be dire, especially as home heat costs are expected to reach their highest level in over 10 years.
“I expect a tsunami of shutoffs,” Jean Su, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, told Bloomberg.

2) unattained purchasing

Falling battery prices have been one of the most consistent trends in the electric vehicle industry for the last decade. Prices dropped from well over $1,000 per kilowatt hour in 2010 to $141 per kWh last year(1). This jump-started one of the biggest shifts in the auto industry in the last century, spurring automakers to plow billions of dollars into EVs.
The trend has ground to a halt this year, with BloombergNEF’s annual lithium-ion battery price survey showing a 7% increase in average pack prices in 2022 in real terms. This is the first increase in the history of the survey.
There are several factors driving the uptick, but the single most important one is rising costs for materials including cobalt, nickel and lithium. While prices for nickel and cobalt have come down in recent months, and lithium may be about to turn, each of these are still higher than they have been in previous years. This is driven by surging battery demand and a lag in how fast new supply can be brought online.
The average battery price would have been even higher if not for the shift to lower-cost lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which contain no nickel or cobalt. LFP batteries have gained significant market share in the last three years, with BloombergNEF expecting them to account for around 40% of global EV sales this year. Battery manufacturer margins also are lower this year, suggesting they’ve absorbed some of the rising costs of materials and components.
Rising Battery Prices Threaten to Derail the Arrival of Affordable EVs (

3) China will supply everyone after a lot of failed projects

UAW vote at GM, LG battery plant is a labor test for EV industry (

Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 6, 2022 7:45 pm

The lithion-iron-phosphate batteries are increasingly popular for use in RVs. They don’t store as much electricity as the lithium-ion batteries used in BVs (battery-powered vehicles), but they are reportedly much safer, not being prone to burst into flames at inconvenient times. —LEJ

Dave Andrews
Reply to  cousinlynn953
December 7, 2022 6:36 am

The IEA say that 50 % of EV models globally are SUVs and require larger batteries with higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 8, 2022 7:16 am

Darn: lithium-iron-phosphate batteries

December 6, 2022 1:33 pm

A few corrections needed after reading the full PDF. Use of these vehicles has led to a total nationwide reduction of 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline from 2011 to 2021, with this fuel shift translating to an emissions reduction of nearly 20 million metric tons of GHGs. In 2021 alone, electric vehicles reduced gasoline consumption by nearly 700 million gallons, offsetting 5.5 million metric tons of GHGs, and reducing consumer fuel spending by approximately $1.4 billion

Your post said 2.1 and then you reduced it by 66% due to mix of fossil fuel for electricity generation. So somewhat fair, but the claim is “gallons of gasoline” and Tons of GHG. So being more conservative lets give then 50% credit of 2.5 or 1.25 Billion . That stretches the total impact to just under 4 days worth of savings. It also puts the Gas cost at around $12 . Still ridiculous numbers and proof of wasting money.

December 6, 2022 1:38 pm

A new emission standard called Euro 7 is under development and is expected to be implemented from 2025.

Who planned the “New Normal” is working to “save the face” (and money) introducing a new generation of “Green gasoline / diesel” vehicles.
By the way, VW just erased “Project Trinity” the next generation electric car!

Be patient.
I personally plan to replace my diesel VW Polo with a Euro 7 diesel (possibly the same model) in 2025.

December 6, 2022 1:43 pm

Twenty three dollars? Its got to be more because you forgot to include the subsidies to wind and solar energy and the direct government spending on climate studies, climate models and such which are all part of the plan.

michael hart
December 6, 2022 2:27 pm

I still think Elon Musk would be wise to offload his Tesla shares to some unwitting fool investors before the crash occurs.

Reply to  michael hart
December 6, 2022 2:50 pm

I suspect he’s way ahead of us all on that matter. The crash just isn’t yet imminent.

michael hart
Reply to  HotScot
December 7, 2022 3:53 pm

Yes,but you need to get out of your (large) positions before it becomes imminent.

December 6, 2022 2:42 pm

Willis – Humor me. My skull is too thick to see how you got from “the gov study showing a saving of 690 million gallons of gas in 2021” – to – “fossil fuels provide 61% of the electricity in the US … so only about a third of that apparent savings is a real reduction in fossil fuel use, the equivalent of maybe 130 million gallons.”

Reply to  lfb81526
December 6, 2022 9:04 pm

No need to link the two points. They aren’t related.
How much gas EV’s are alleged to have saved, has no relationship to how electricity is being generated in the US.

December 6, 2022 2:43 pm

This type of analysis will produce a distorted worst-case result.
1) Talking about the last 11 years “savings” for a technology that is on an exponential climb will always be biased by the slow ramp across the early years. US EV numbers are around 1% of total vehicles, and around 2-3% of new sales. So it is clear that savings are going to be north of 2 days a year going forward, which is nothing like 2 days in 11 years.
2) Equating gas/coal electricity generation efficiency to the average car is again biased low, an ICE in the average car is much less efficient at converting energy than a gas turbine.
3) It would be a fair conclusion that those that are buying EVs would have a higher likelihood of PV generation on the roofs of their homes and hence using the average fossil-fuel mix in electricity generation is once again biased high.

Reply to  harryfromsyd
December 7, 2022 8:27 pm

It would be a fair conclusion that those that are buying EVs would have a higher likelihood of PV generation on the roofs of their homes and hence using the average fossil-fuel mix in electricity generation is once again biased high.

Why is that a “fair conclusion,” and even if it is, as EVs become more popular don’t you think they’ll spread beyond the smug eco-weenies?

December 6, 2022 2:47 pm

Who the hell wants to strap themselves and their kids into a potential, high risk mobile bomb? Green blob politicians will only see the folly in battery cars when a few have blown up and set everything around them on fire, including homes while being charged – a bit like smart motorways where people with a modicum of sense said there would be needless fatalities and they were correct

Reply to  Energywise
December 6, 2022 4:00 pm

How many EVs have caught fire while underway? I though the fires occurred when the car was parked.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 6, 2022 9:05 pm

If a car can catch fire while sitting, it’s even more likely to catch fire while being driven, since energy being withdrawn from the battery heats it up.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 7, 2022 11:37 am

a quick search turns up several. Too many to put links in response.

A model S during a test drive in Franceone on Santa Monica Blvd in traffic, pedestrian flagged down driverNetherlands right after driver put her child in a car seat (does that count as “under way”?)Kelllmunz Germany – error messages while driving then smokeLunner tunnel, Norway, driver noticed smoke while drivingMany more…I’ll leave one link from earlier this year

Last edited 1 month ago by Tony_G
Reply to  Energywise
December 14, 2022 7:42 am

“Who the hell wants to strap themselves and their kids into a potential, high risk mobile bomb?”
Apparently everyone who drives a gasoline powered car.
“From 2012 – 2021, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 210 million miles travelled. By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in the United States there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles travelled.”
You are 11 times more likely to die in a fire in a gasoline car than an electric car!

December 6, 2022 3:00 pm

You forgot the billions saved in car repairs. The ICE is way too complicated and wasteful. I have had my Chevy Bolt for two years. It has had no services of any kind. The maintenance and gas saved goes a long way toward paying my $289 monthly lease payment. And I make a lot less than 100k a year.

Reply to  stanny1
December 6, 2022 4:03 pm

And yet I’ve seen a Tesla on a flat-bed tow truck being returned to the dealer, and a shop in Costa Mesa that repairs EVs, with a lot full of Teslas. You might wish to touch wood.

As to an ICE being way too complicated, they used to be simple, and repaired by shade-tree mechanics. But then someone though it need to add all sorts of fancy stuff. I drive a pretty basic Honda Civic – the most complicate part is the AM/FM Radio / CD player.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 6, 2022 9:13 pm

The vast majority of routine maintenance items are for things that both ICE and EV’s have. Wind shield wipers, tires, suspension, windows etc.

Reply to  stanny1
December 6, 2022 9:10 pm

This is a claim that many EV fans make. Unfortunately real world data does not support this fantasy either.
That “complicated” engine will outlast your EV’s battery and will cost a lot less to replace when it does wear out.
Your maintenance savings are for the most part completely imaginary. Your gas savings are entirely from the fact that you aren’t paying any taxes to support the roads you are using.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  MarkW
December 6, 2022 10:55 pm

Yes, the EV guys are currently “free riders” on the system us ICE people pay for.
If EVs ever penetrate as much as the fanboys hope there will inevitably be an avalanche of new taxes on them.
Someone has to pay for the roads boys.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 7, 2022 6:45 am

Yep. Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty (Road Tax) brought in £37 billion to the UK Treasury in 2019-20. EVs are currently exempt from paying these.

Eamon Butler
December 6, 2022 3:12 pm

Minor typo I think
”… hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) “saved about 690 million gallons of gasoline.”

… so only about a third of that apparent savings is a real reduction in fossil fuel use, the equivalent of maybe 130 million gallons.”

Should be 230 million gallons.

Great analysis as usual though. Best to you Willis.

December 6, 2022 3:32 pm

Willis, you state:

“… our insane Governor’s response is to forbid selling gasoline-powered cars after 2035 …”

Last I heard, he was only going to forbid the sale of new gasoline-powered cars after 2035. I don’t know if he is going to try to do that via an Executive Order, or get the compliant legislature to pass a bill. Best would be to put it on the ballot.

Otherwise, a great article. Keep ’em coming.

December 6, 2022 3:52 pm

A lot of people, and especially climate alarmists, have zero appreciation for the scope of what’s involved to switch off fossil fuels. One would think anyone who has ever driven a car on an American highway might get it, but nope.

December 6, 2022 4:19 pm


Nice article. Have enjoyed your work for years. There might be another simplified comparison to “drive” the point home even more. Since 61% of the power on the electric grid is from fossil fuels, each KWh of electricity used by an electric car in America would emit on average a certain amount of CO2 from the energy source. It is not clear to me that with all of the inefficiences in the distribution and use of that electricity in an electric car, that CO2 emissions would be reduced that much. I mean that is what all the screaming by the worshipers at the altar of global warming is about….the devil gas CO2. If you start with a comparison of what it takes to put shaft HP to the wheels so it is an apples to apples comparison. The steps would look something like: coal, natural gas—>power plant—> step up transformer—-> high voltage power line—> substation to medium voltage—>distribution to local pole—> final voltage (120,240)—> rectifier to convert to DC—> losses to charge the battery—> losses to discharge the battery—> losses to variable frequency drive—>losses to electric motor to convert to shaft HP. All those inefficiences add up and may produce a suprising answer for the greens.

Reply to  Deadrock
December 6, 2022 7:51 pm

Nothing surprises the greens, least of all facts.

December 6, 2022 4:31 pm

Unless we can stop the insane war on fossil fuels, it is going to bankrupt us all, driving energy costs through the roof, leaving low-income people shivering in the winter, and denying poor countries the energy they need to escape grinding poverty.

There’s only one solution. Go woke with Tyler-

December 6, 2022 4:33 pm

This is certainly reminiscent of Warren Buffet’s statement that the only reason to build wind farms is to harvest the subsidies.

Walter Sobchak
December 6, 2022 5:31 pm

I like the background pictures on the graphs above. Battery powered electric vehicles (BEV) have been sold to the public as high technology. But, they actually are from the early 20th Century.

In the 1910s my Great-grandmother owned a BEV automobile. So did Mrs. Henry Ford Sr. At that time about one third of the vehicles on the road were BEVs.

They were very popular with women such as my Great-grandmother and Mrs. Ford because ICE vehicles had to be started by hand cranking the engine which was taxing and dangerous. The built in electric starter motor was invented in 1911 and incorporated into production vehicles beginning with Cadillac.

By the beginning of the 1920s starters were in almost all new ICE vehicles. And the superiority of the ICE technology drove BEVs into specialized niches such as warehouses, mines, and golf courses.

December 6, 2022 8:01 pm

I agree that all EV subsidies should end.

EVs will eventually replace ICE vehicles, providing idiotic Leftist governments stop trying to impossibly replace fossil fuel, nuclear and hydro power with wind and solar.

EV technology is now far superior to ICE in performance and manufacturing.efficiency. and the gap will continue to widen as robotics and battery technology continue to improve.

My EV is amazing, and I’ll never buy another ICE car again when I have supercar performance for 1/20th the cost…

Reply to  SAMURAI
December 6, 2022 9:20 pm

Until they can get battery range to 500 miles, charging times down to 5 minutes, eliminate the battery degradation that occurs at both high and low temperatures and keep electrics from self igniting, EVs will never be more than a niche vehicle.
There is no evidence that any of those things are going to happen.

BTW, if you select your vehicle based solely on it’s 0 to 40mph rating, then you are probably still a teenager.

Reply to  MarkW
December 6, 2022 11:54 pm


350 miles is more than enough.

Many people love fast cars, which doesn’t make me a teenager…BTW, it’s 0~60mph in 2 seconds, not 0~40mph.

if you’ve never gone 0~60 in 2 seconds,mtrynit. it’s an exhilarating experience.

15 minutes of TESLA supercharging gives 200 miles—range isn’t a problem for current EVs.

There are also the advantages of: no oil changes, no spark plugs, changing out clutches, differentials, transmissions, head gaskets, fuel injectors, and 2,000 parts other parts that wear out or break in ICE cars, very low running and maintenance costs, massive trunk room, no transmission hump inside the cabin, a very quiet ride, etc.

Perhaps the biggest advantage for EVs is that they only have 14 major components during assembly, while ICE vehicle have thousands.

Eventually, EVs will be 100% assembled by robots (now 90%) and ICE manufacturers will be out of business as EV manufacturers won’t have the UAW Sword of Damocles hanging over them..

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 7, 2022 2:12 am

I agree with you, Willis-san!

End all EV subsidies and let the market pick winners and losers, and the speed of adoption of new technologies.

Never leave it to government hacks who will invariably get it wrong.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  SAMURAI
December 7, 2022 6:58 am

Can’t tell from your name if you are in Japan or not but it was interesting in their Commentary on EVs, 30th Jan 2022, the IEA said

In Japan EV sales barely increased with market share remaining below 1% over the last three years

Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 8, 2022 4:49 am


Yes, I do live in Japan.

Tesla has about a 70% market share of the Japanese import EV market and their sales are doubling every year.

Hybrids are still the fastest growing market segment but will eventually transition to 100% EVs.

Reply to  MarkW
December 13, 2022 5:06 pm

Most people are NOT like you. Both our Honda SUVs only have 350 mile range, (Pilot and CRV), and never needed more. We always stop every 200 miles or so for a quick break, (which is every 3 hours of driving.)
It doesn’t make sense to make an electric car with a 500 mile range when most ICE cars can only do about 350 miles anyways. (Although an electric truck should have 500 mile range minimum, if you want to pull a trailer).
When we stop we don’t just fill up but take a bathroom break and grab a beverage. Always about 15 to 20 minutes, not much different than the time to recharge a Tesla on a supercharger.

December 7, 2022 2:02 am

It could be argued that all of the electricity for charging EVs is fossil fuel sourced.

EVs are an incremental load on the grid which does not arise with ICEs. In most places all of the available zero-CO2 power is always maxed out as it is prioritised onto the grid (exceptions are places like France and Norway). So the incremental load of an EV will be met by the incremental producer – probably gas, possibly coal.

Reply to  Mikehig
December 9, 2022 10:20 am

It could be argued that all of the electricity for charging EVs is fossil fuel sourced.

It could be so argued, and the argument would be wrong. In the U.S., roughly 30% of the electricity comes from non-fossil sources: nuke, wind, hydro, solar. Where I live, only 3% of our juice comes from fossil fuels.

December 7, 2022 3:20 am

Has anyone or any company ever manufactured a 100% “green” EV?. I mean every material, part, panel, glass, plastic, rubber, bearings, motors, circuits, PCB’s, tech, satnav, entertainment, climate control, carpets, seats, seatbelts,lights, brakes, steering, suspension, drivetrains — every part of the car, made only from 100% “certified” renewable energy? And the car assembled in a 100% renewable powered factory? And then tested for crash compliance in a 100% renewable powered crash test facility?

No oil or grease either so no lubrication of moving parts allowed.

Think about bringing an EV to production in a 100% de-carbonized world? Then charging only from 100% renewable energy. — Then you will have a true “green car” And you could drive your green car around, and feel good that you have done your bit to save the planet —– or you could walk..

Last edited 1 month ago by SteveG
December 7, 2022 4:26 am

RV’s worked out years ago to simply use standard 30 and 50 amp household sockets. These are available at tens of thousands of campsites. It takes so long to charge might as well camp overnight.

So the EV industry comes along and invents new incompatible plugs.

Reply to  ferdberple
December 9, 2022 10:16 am

I prefer real-world discussions, so here goes.

The typical EV these days has a 65 kWh battery (on average), and the owner will typically charge 80% of that (call it 50 kWh) on a 240v/32A circuit. The circuit will run at 80% of rated capacity, making it 240v/25A, or 6 kW per hour. Thus, a typical charge will rake 8-1/3 hours.

Increase that to a 50A circuit (running at 40A) at 240v, and the charge time will drop to about 5 hours. These times are further reduced by more powerful chargers running at higher voltages and amperages, but whether those are applicable depends on the EV’s on-board equipment.

Reply to  JakeJ
December 13, 2022 4:29 pm

That example of home charging is from 10% to 90% charge which would be very rare for us city folk. We fill up our ICE vehicles once a week, (with similar range), and also plug them in at night, (in the winter, so they start in the morning). So taking a few seconds to plug in an EV nightly to top up the charge, would actually be way easier and quicker than going to a gas station, wait in line for a pump to be free, then standing five minutes in the cold to refuel, and then wait in line to pay the cashier, then heading back home. (Yes, it will costs a couple thousand dollars upfront for that convenience and savings.)
(You can set the charging app to stop the charge at 80% to ensure you get the “one million miles” out of your battery, which would last most people a lifetime. Both our 2003 Honda SUV’s have 250,000 km each for a total of 500,000 km over 20 years which is about 300,000 miles. 60 years of driving from age 16 to 76 would be 900,000 miles.) 1 Million Miles on a Tesla

December 7, 2022 4:31 am

Price out a 100 feet of 50 Amp cable and connectors to charge your EV. Forget catalytic converters. The big money will be in stealing EV extension cords.

Reply to  ferdberple
December 9, 2022 10:09 am

The vast majority of EVs are charged in garages at home on at 240v, 32A circuits, the same as electric clothes dryers. Yes, there are exceptions, but I’m talking about the rule. A 50A extension cord costs about $4.25 per foot.

It’s a big world. People so all kinds of things. I’m sure there are some people who use a 100-foot, 50A cord, but they’d be outliers.

Bruce Ryan
December 7, 2022 6:07 am

a short message from an EV driver. I got no tax credit on my last EV. I paid a lot of money for the car. I don’t care what you drive as long as it doesn’t stink and you don’t open up the exhaust.
The tax credit is a political party thing. Worthless as a policy but then can you name something else the government does…I’d gladly see them support nuclear energy production.
Don’t blame EV cars for energy policy, You can blame unscrupulous politicians and unobservant voters.
If you have a garage the ev driving experience is pretty good. thanks for your time.
btw, Willis are you back on twitter yet?

Reply to  Bruce Ryan
December 7, 2022 8:17 pm

I don’t care what you drive as long as it doesn’t stink and you don’t open up the exhaust.

Translation: If I don’t see the smokestack, it’s all good.

John XB
December 7, 2022 6:59 am

However, as always, a sense of perspective is required. The US uses about 370 million gallons of gas per day … so that’s only about two days’ worth of gas.’

On the other hand, the rate of global warming has not gone up and it’s getting colder – so must be working. 😊

December 7, 2022 7:12 am

The exaggeration of benefits is worse than this.

According to a detailed comparison of lifecycle CO2 emissions published by Volvo for their C40 vehicles, CO2 emissions to manufacture an EV are about 70% higher than equivalent ICE vehicle. So lifecycle CO2 emissions for an EV are heavily “front-loaded” by manufacturing.

It takes years of driving on electricity provided by low-CO2 generation, for the EV to “break even” with an equivalent ICE vehicle. Since the current EV fleet is “too young” to have worked off that deficit, and “getting younger” because of increasing production, building EVs has most likely only increased CO2 thus far, and this is likely to continue for many years.

Regardless of how much gasoline consumption has been avoided, there has been no CO2 emission reduction whatsoever thus far from building EVs (an increase, actually), and mandating more rapid production EVs will only drive further increases for the foreseeable future.

Last edited 1 month ago by lagniappe
Dave Andrews
Reply to  lagniappe
December 8, 2022 7:02 am

Yes. Earlier this year the head of Toyota, the largest car manufacturer in the world said

“Most electricity is from coal and natural gas any way”

“The more EVs we build, the worse carbon dioxide gets. When politicians are out there saying ‘Lets get rid of all cars using gasoline’, do they understand this?”

December 7, 2022 8:30 am

Your “we’re rapidly running out of both the generation capacity and the grid capacity to recharge them.” can be extended to include running out of the materials to build them as well: Assoc Prof Simon Michaux – The quantity of metals required to manufacture just one generation of… – YouTube

Also, a small quibble: if you’re going to throw in things like transmission losses, you should fairly do it on both sides of the equation (e.g. fuel transportation “costs”). I realize this won’t radically affect your conclusion.

I very much enjoy your articles, and particularly your attention to detail

Bill Parsons
December 7, 2022 1:04 pm

Who is benefitting from this lunatic waste of taxpayer money? The richest 20% of the US population, of course.

This sounds about right. Both rich and poor buy novelty items. But this novelty is too costly for most low income people without a fat subsidy.

Surveys show that: “For plug-in hybrid owners, 20% of them flipped back to a car solely powered by an engine.”

And… 78% of ev owners have at least one or more gas powered cars in their stable of cars as a back up and as the primary workhorse.

Which makes all these estimates of savings to taxpayers worth … pfft!

December 7, 2022 4:55 pm

While AGW is the world’s biggest scam, properly managed electricity does make EVs a good alternative to ICE vehicles in most circumstances.
First, by properly managed electricity, I mean electricity from clean burning Alberta coal, Natural Gas and Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, (SMNR) which should keep our cost of electricity as low as it is right now.
Our electricity here in Alberta is costing me $0.085 per kilowatt hour. Most Tesla cars use around 0.3kwh/ mile but it’s getting better with every passing year.
(The Tesla Semi used only 1.7 kw/mile on it’s 500 mile with a GVW of 81,000 lbs and had a lot more horsepower than any other ‘normal’ semi! 0-60mph in 20 secs at the GVW of 40.5 tons.)
This means that it is costing about $5.19, (Tesla Model Y SUV), of electricity to travel 200 miles, (Edmonton to Calgary), vs about $31.00 of auto fuel for (Honda CRV SUV).

That makes EVs worth considering for a couple reasons:

  1. Much lower energy usage which should translate to fewer natural resources extracted, transported and consumed. It is worth noting that by the year
  2. Cheaper transportation as mentioned above.
  3. Electricity doesn’t have to be transported anywhere, although you do have to set up the power lines for transmission. Auto fuel has to be transported by vehicle or pipeline.
  4. Cleaner air, especially in congested cities like Vancouver.
  5. No poisonous gas released, (an uncle of mine died in his garage from CO2 poisoning). EVs batteries are used to heat the interior of the car in winter or to cool the interior in the summer, in a garage with no worries.
  6. Extremely little maintenance over the life of the vehicle compared to and ICE vehicle. (No pistons, valves, spark plugs, camshaft, cams, lifters, starter motor, antifreeze, radiator, carb, belts, engine oil, oil filter, transmission, catalytic converter, differential, exhaust pipe, muffler – just to name some of the bigger items.)
  7. It is possible to generate your own electricity, (windmills, solar panels south of lat 50), but you can’t generate you own gasoline. The cars and especially, the EV Trucks, are large batteries that can be used to power essentials in blackouts.

As an addendum it is worth noting a couple of things.

  1. Cobalt, Lithium and Nickel is now mined right here in Canada, including Alberta, which has the highest standards of environment protection and safety of any country in the world. No more horrendous child labour or horrible open Lithium brine pits.
  2. Not only does Tesla recycle the batteries for all their EVs, every EV company now has to have a plan of recycling and reusing their batteries plus there are other Canadian companies that recycle EV batteries. For example: Retriev has had contracts with EV manufacturers for a number of years, and has disassembled, analyzed and processed over 90 different types of EV battery packs. Its current capacity is 4,500 tonnes per year.
  3. Elon Musk says lithium, cobalt, aluminum, copper, and steel will be recovered from a closed-loop battery recycling process at Gigafactory 1 and it expects to save money producing new batteries from the recycled materials, rather than buying new minerals for its batteries. In this closed-loop system, the batteries are crushed and separated, and reused in making new batteries. In this recycling process, every new battery contains between 60-80% of recycled materials and it’s cheaper to recycle than to mine, transport and refine new materials.
Reply to  GordR
December 7, 2022 8:15 pm

Electricity doesn’t have to be transported anywhere, although you do have to set up the power lines for transmission.

You are wrong. Electricity transit loses 6%.

Elon Musk says …

You just outed yourself.

Last edited 1 month ago by JakeJ
Reply to  JakeJ
December 13, 2022 2:26 pm

You’re right I forgot about transmission lose, and I wanted to correct it but you can’t correct your own posts and that sucks. So once you hit the “Post Comment” button it’s cemented in place, it seems.

Reply to  GordR
December 8, 2022 2:50 am

All good points (thanks) but it doesn’t address Willis’ main point: if EV is so great, why the massive government subsidies and deceptive statements? If it is good, it will stand on its own (like ICE did as it developed). No one is saying you can’t have an EV if the circumstances warrant, just that by trying to kill the ICE with mandates shows a very weak hand. I live in cold rural PA. The only EV cars are owned and run by wealthy people who have one or more additional ICE cars for reliable backup.

Reply to  batpox
December 13, 2022 3:23 pm
  1. Tesla has been doing fine for the last 8 years or so without subsidies, but the rest of the auto industry has a very strong influence on the government, (donations to political parties that support them). I’m also against gov subsidies.
  2. The lose of range in cold weather has been reduced to a 10% lose in range; at least in a Tesla. So if your electric vehicle had a 333 mile range, you would have about a 300 mile range in Edmonton, Alberta or Winnipeg, MB. We have driven our ICE vehicles, (Honda Pilot & Honda CRV), for the last 20 years and that was their effective range as well! If we ever needed to travel to some location that didn’t have BEV charging stations, we would rent an ICE vehicle.
December 7, 2022 5:21 pm

The shift to less dense energy but cheaper LFP battery technology over NMC gave lithium battery resource costing a reprieve but it’s all uphill from here-
The renewables/EV fan club needs to stop wasting lightweight lithium batteries on stationary grid firming if EV take-up isn’t going to hit the affordability wall.

December 7, 2022 6:47 pm

I will respond point by point. By the way, I agree with some of the criticisms made.

  1. The thermal efficiency of electricity generation in the U.S. is somewhere in the mid-40% range. Transmission losses can be eliminated for comparative purposes, given that there are “transmission losses” in moving gasoline and diesel to fuel stations.
  2. Inverter losses are actually higher, roughly 12% last time I checked. It’s worth mentioning that gas-powered vehicles are roughly 25% thermally efficient. Refineries are about 90% efficient, and engines from the low 20s to the mid-30s. Diesels are 30%-35% efficient.
  3. (With respect to points 1 and 2: If you’re going to cite inefficiencies on one side of the equation, you should cite them on the other side if you want to be credible.)
  4. It’s questionable, to put it mildly, to spread the overhead cost of charging stations on past EV use. What, you think they won’t be used in the future?
  5. I agree about EV subsidies. Some states are putting income caps on them, and I strongly agree with that.
  6. The adoption curves only show that EVs are still at the bottom of the famed S-curve.

I quoted the efficiency numbers from memory. If challenged, I can go far into the weeds. The numbers won’t change much.

I view EVs in engineering terms; I think the climate side of it is a joke for all the reasons commonly pointed out on WattsUpWithThat. On the engineering front, there are good and bad things to be said about vehicles running on lithium batteries. I think it’s impressive that someone(s) have applied lithium batteries to vehicles, but my inner amateur engineer recoils at the hype.

So, when it comes to attitudes, I’m pretty much in Eschenbach’s corner, but with reservations.

December 8, 2022 8:14 am

Math is a harsh mistress*.

*with apologies I’d Robert A. Heinlein

Reply to  deguello13
December 8, 2022 9:40 am
  • with apologies to Robert A. Heinlein
December 8, 2022 2:28 pm

“But that is a huge exaggeration because fossil fuels provide 61% of the electricity in the US, and we have to include:

  • the inefficiency of burning coal or natural gas to make electricity (around 45% or so)”

The loss in energy efficiency depends on what fuel is used to generate it.

A typical coal-fired plant has an overall efficiency of about 30 to 35%, meaning that the electrical energy obtained is about 30 to 35% of the heating value of the coal.

A simple-cycle natural gas turbine typically has an efficiency of 35 to 40%. This means that the gas is burned in a turbine, but there is no attempt to recover heat from the hot, low-pressure exhaust gases. This is usually true of “peaker” plants used to provide extra power during high-demand hours, which can be started up and shut down quickly.

The most efficient power plants are usually combined-cycle natural gas, consisting of one or more gas turbines followed by a “waste heat boiler”, where the hot exhaust gases are used to boil water to make high-pressure steam, which is then used to drive an additional turbine and to generate more power. While some additional energy input is required to drive the water pumps, a combined-cycle plant can reach an overall efficiency of 60 to 65% based on the heating value of the natural gas.

If we use Willis’ estimates of 5% transmission losses and 5% inverter losses (of the generated electricity), then the best-case ratio of energy in the battery to fossil fuel burned would be:

Coal-fired 0.35 (1 – 0.05)(1 – 0.05) = 0.316 (slightly less than 1/3)
Simple Cycle 0.40 (1 – 0.05)(1 – 0.05) = 0.361 (slightly better than 1/3)
Combined Cycle 0.65 (1 – 0.05)(1 – 0.05) = 0.587 (about 7 / 12).

Electric cars only make sense from an emissions standpoint if the electricity is generated using either a combined-cycle gas-fired plant, or (better yet) nuclear fission.

The efficiencies calculated above represent (energy in battery / energy used to generate electricity). But an electric motor usually has an efficiency of about 80 to 85% in converting input electric power to mechanical work, so overall efficiency would be:

Coal-fired 0.316 * 0.85 = 0.268
Simple Cycle 0.361 * 0.85 = 0.307
Combined Cycle 0.587 * 0.85 = 0.499

Even using electricity generated by a combined-cycle (most efficient) plant, less than half the fossil-fuel energy is converted to mechanical work used to power an electric car. For coal-fired plants, the ratio is only about 27%.

Since a typical gasoline engine converts about 35% of the heating value of gasoline to mechanical work, an electric car actually burns MORE fossil fuel than a gasoline engine if the electricity is generated by either a coal-fired or simple-cycle natural gas plant.

Reply to  SteveZ56
December 9, 2022 10:03 am

Gasoline engines vary widely in thermal efficiency. The most efficient are about 35%, but most are far less efficient. I believe 25% to be a reasonable approximation; deduct another 10% for refinery distillation, and I peg the average ICEV at about 22% efficient.

The U.S. electric system is about 45% thermally efficient, and EVs convert about 83% of electricity to movement, making them 37% efficient. This is a national average, and would vary based on regional generation mixes. Yes, if the electricity comes from coal or the least efficient natural gas plants, it would be lower.

On the other hand, where I live, 79% of our juice comes from hydro; 10% from wind; 8% from a nuke. Our regional numbers would be much higher; this is why, in comments, I use national numbers rather than cherry pick one region or another to “prove” a point.

Crispin in Val Quentin
December 8, 2022 5:44 pm

In China there are millions upon millions of PHEV’s and they are very useful. No one is claiming they reduce the total energy consumed (though it probably does, a bit). But it certainly cleans up the air in cities because the emissions are displaced to the countryside.

It is worth parsing what the claims are and the purpose of each technology. PHEV’s create mobile freedom at a very low cost (a huge number of them are electric motorcycles). Most people can afford them. In Jakarta and other Indonesian cities, there are vast numbers of motorcycles too, but all gasoline powered. The air and sound pollution are awful. That the Chinese have conquered.

No one in the Far East is interested in reducing CO2 emissions, gauged by their behaviours.

I did want to offer a more moderate set of figures for the power numbers involved:

>“saved about 690 million gallons of gasoline.”

>But that is a huge exaggeration …


>…because fossil fuels provide 61% of the electricity in the US


Electricity generation:

  • the efficiency of burning coal is ~38-42%
  • the efficiency of burning natural gas (combined cycle) is ~70%.
  • the efficiency of burning natural gas (open cycle) ~40% (most USA gas is open)
  • transmission losses (~ 5%),
  • losses in the inverter to charge the battery (another ~3%),
  • losses in charging the battery ~10%
  • losses in conversion of electric battery power to locomotion ~20% at least.

Let’s say 40% x 60% x 95% x 97% x 90% x 80% = 16% efficient.

Gasoline engines are about ~30% efficient (net) and diesel ~40%. Quibble as you will…

So how does the EV save anything at all in terms of energy? They may have indeed saved 690 or 230 or 23 million gallons, but it displaced those emissions to various power stations. If fossil fuels are indeed 61% of power generation and the system efficiency of the EV is half that of an ICE, I can guarantee that the net CO2 emissions rose.

Reply to  Crispin in Val Quentin
December 9, 2022 9:53 am

The U.S. electric system is roughly 45% thermally efficient. There are some challenges with that number, but for purposes of this discussion it’s close enough for horseshoes. EVs are about 83% efficient from plug to movement, making them about 37% thermally efficient.

Gasoline refining is 90% efficient, and gas engines average about 25%, making them about 22% thermally efficient. Diesels are about 27% thermally efficient.

I omitted electric transmission losses, and the energy cost of shipping gas and diesel to filling stations. I also omit the energy used in mining oil, coal, uranium, and natural gas used to make electricity, gasoline, and diesel. The omissions are because a) I don’t have all those numbers, and b) I think the two sides of the comparison would balance those factors anyway.

In use, an EV is responsible for about 60% of the the CO2 emissions that gas or diesel vehicles are. That number is reliable, but I’m not confident in comparisons of CO2 emissions during the manufacturing of EVs and ICEVs. I did a deep dive 6 or 8 years ago, and found nothing that I could rely on.

Put it together, and I think EVs emit less CO2 on a lifecycle basis (crade to grave — manufacturing and use.) I think the entire greenhouse gas panic is phony, so I don’t view the EV “advantage” on CO2 as material to anything. I’ve looked into it only because it’s been widely discussed.


Two more things.

  1. I can provide details to support the numbers, but those details will be long and boring, and I won’t do it unless I perceive significant interest here. Which, as a long-time reader and commenter, I doubt there will be.
  2. Electric motive power in transportation has pluses and minuses. Rail has been diesel electric for about 70 years, and works very well. Battery-powered cars have both cost and range issues, although those are being somewhat mitigated as battery costs per kWh decline with manufacturing economies of scale. This has allowed for larger batteries in cars, which in turn have made EVs viable as urban commuter vehicles.
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