Driving an Electric Car is One Way to Resist Trump’s Climate Attacks

No gasoline, no dirty oil changes, no internal combustion engine, no having to deal with politicians withdrawing from a multi-national environmental call to action.

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Jun 21 2017, 9:00pm

This is an opinion piece by the Sierra Club for their Electric Vehicles Initiative and the Ready for 100 campaign.

When Trump announced his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, he talked about representing "Pittsburgh, not Paris." But what he didn't realize is that the city of Pittsburgh, like the majority of Americans in every state, supports climate action and the Paris climate agreement. Pittsburgh residents want clean energy and clean transportation. In fact, the city just announced its commitment to 100 percent clean energy and is currently looking into greening its public transit with zero-emission, electric buses.

But it's not just cities that can fight back against Trump's policies and protect our planet. Pittsburgh residents, and people all over, can take a stand for climate action by urging our cities to take "Ready for 100" percent clean energy action, by installing rooftop solar, switching to cleaner transportation choices, such as biking or driving an electric car.

A fully electric vehicle (EV) uses electricity to power a battery. This means no gasoline, no dirty oil changes, and no internal combustion engine. Most new fully electric vehicles can drive 70-100 miles on one charge. New models coming out this year will go farther than 200 miles in between charges. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles run on electricity for a certain number of miles, and as their battery runs out of charge, a gasoline powered engine or generator kicks in.

Today's electric vehicles are as clean as a gasoline car that gets 73 miles to the gallon.

Electric vehicles are cleaner than ever. No matter where you live, even factoring in the emissions associated with electricity used to charge EVs, these cars are significantly cleaner than conventional vehicles. With more and more cities pledging to go all in on clean energy, EVs will only get cleaner over time as we shift to more renewable sources of power.

Passenger cars drive America's oil consumption, accounting for 45 percent of oil used in the United States. At the same time, oil consumption accounts for more than 40 percent of greenhouse gas pollution. The largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions include passenger cars and light-duty trucks, such as SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, and sedans. These emissions are from both the vehicle tailpipes and the "upstream" emissions from extracting, refining, and transporting the oil to our vehicles. While our cars have been part of our climate problem, clean electric vehicles can be part of the solution.

On average, today's electric vehicles are as clean as a gasoline car that gets 73 miles to the gallon. To find out just how much cleaner an EV is in your state, enter your zip code here.


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The benefits of driving electric don't end with driving away Trump's climate attacks. Because of lower fueling and maintenance costs and federal and state rebates, EVs are often cheaper than gasoline-powered cars. An analysis by NerdWallet, created in honor of National Drive Electric Week (which is coming up again in September!), shows that owning or leasing an EV like the Nissan Leaf is significantly cheaper over a five-year period than the gasoline-powered Toyota Camry or the hybrid Toyota Prius—without even factoring in state rebates available to many.

Because of lower fueling and maintenance costs and federal and state rebates, EVs are often cheaper than gasoline-powered cars.

Thanks to federal, state, and industry rebates and tax credits, decreasing prices in EV technology, and the much cheaper price of electricity versus gasoline, the cost of owning and operating an EV is notably lower than that of gasoline-fuelled vehicles. And with fewer moving parts—no mufflers, catalytic converters, or even oil changes—EVs are not only cheaper to fuel than any gas car, but they're cheaper to maintain.

With more than 30 models on the market, finding a new or used EV to fit your budget and lifestyle is as easy as a drive around the park. Visit Sierra Club's EV guide, to find the perfect EV to push back against Trump's dangerous attacks on our climate.