On the perfection of the free-market
While I was doing my biweekly commute I couldn’t help myself notice, from time to time, a stranded car leaning on the side of the road. It usually was an older (about twenty-year-old) German car, but sometimes newer cars also.
Although I carry with myself in the trunk of my coupe a set of basic tools for quick repairs (just in case), all that is needed for a tire change (never used them on road) and some fluids, I needn’t stop to help those folks. Because, as I drove some additional miles, I almost always noticed a vividly-colored ramp truck going to the site of the intervention, to either carry the stranded ones and their car to the nearest service (where proper tools and specialists may diagnose and fix the problems) or, for simpler problems, solving them on-site for a small charge (small, as in comparison to having to call a friend from far away or stop incoming traffic and ask for help).
In my country, there are a large number of second-hand cars imported from various European countries, mostly for their affordable prices and reliability. In a developing country, having access to cheap means of transportation is a primary factor for development. People do not care of pollution, and why would they, when their car allows them going to the market or a distant supermarket or hardware store to purchase or unload bread, vegetables, construction materials and other commodities, in order to make a profit. Or to safely embark on a driving trip, or to just drive the kids to school. For a lack of regulations allow the progress of a society.
It is not uncommon here to see twenty-year-old cars clocking at over 300,000 thousand miles and going strong, while their market value is just fraction of that of a new car. I can even recall an attempt by the bureaucrats to impose an “environmental” import tariff on second-hand cars, only to be followed by massive protests and failure of this tax. I really think Romanians are opposed to agenda-based changes, and that “15-minute cells”, free-speech suppression, or bug flour will fail miserably, if attempted here. To link with our modern world problems, we are famously known for “sink vaccinations” and low vaccination rate. Gee, I just wonder why Romania now has the lowest excess mortality rate (-6%) in the whole EU. Let that sink in, and moving on.
This can only give you a good feeling, as you drive, knowing that the free-market “invisible hand” is at work and you are in good company. And I am not only referring to worst-case scenarios. The modern car is a result of constant entrepreneurial creative destruction. Disc brakes took over drum brakes, for they are better and cheaper. An Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is fitted for proper monitoring and relaying electrical signals throughout the car, which is packed with tens of sensors. Driving comfort benefits from airbags, better A/C and improved suspensions.
The internal combustion engine has evolved during the past 100 years to become as efficient as possible. Fuel injection took away in the ‘80s to replace the gas-guzzling carbureted engines. The motives behind this takeover surround fuel efficiency and cost reduction; people would much rather pay fewer bucks at the pump for the same driving distance. Only after that, the environmental impact of a car was implicitly reduced. Not vice-versa.
And this is the exact sort of environmental-friendly, profit-driven innovation comes into play. Turning things upside down, we get the electric cars: environmental-hype driven, while being inefficiently underdeveloped.
The electric cars are a scam
To put it in a nutshell, electric vehicles (EVs) are mostly a scam. I am not saying that electric cars are inherently bad. They boast some impressive technology, and have both advantages, and disadvantages, over an internal combustion engine (ICE) car. However, consider that recent improvements in their applicability come at a huge cost, and the net benefit is negative. Their agenda-pushed effect is clearly affecting everyone’s standards of living, whether we talk about higher costs of energy or environmental destruction.
EVs are a scam, since their sales numbers are artificially inflated (due to taxpayer-funded subsidies), their market share is not a product of a free-market based subsystem, and their environmental impact is much larger than advertised. Their time to come was nowhere near, but environmentalists ought to have a good-looking poster child (since they are not interested in a disastrous East Palestine train derailment incident likened to a Chernobyl 2.0 (and bringing “Atlas Shrugged” to mind). We have already seen liberty-minded countries like Switzerland reaching to banning EVs. Make no mistake, when the EV bubble will pop, it will pop harder than a stranded balloon hit by a $400,000 missile.
To keep up with the artificial increasing demand, US, EU and China detracted money from the private sector to invest into new power plants, power grids, and charging stations. Word says, this will save the planet somehow, and the ever-increasing utility bills are the price to pay for clean air. This is theatrical nonsense, just like Greta Thunberg’s staged arrest.
EV’s profitability is widely underestimated
The utility of an EV for its everyday purposeful use had to be artificially magnified, or otherwise their sales volumes would have been minuscule. Which is why EVs known to have a large initial “environmental footprint”, as compared to an ICE car. But, after driving the EV for some miles, things should get on par with the ICE and you are magically saving the planet.
Such calculations are made by taking into account CO2 emissions for the production of the car, batteries, energy transport and others. I am not sure how CO2 is actually related to pollution (it is not), but I know that actual costs go hand in hand with this CO2 “footprint” environmentalists are roaring about.
For instance, a recent analysis reached an initial conclusion that one should drive an EV for about 700,000 kilometers (430,000 miles) to break even with the environmental impact of an ICE car. Later revisions of the hypotheses underlying the model lead to a lower mileage in between 67,226 and 151,259 kilometers.
I will point several aspects which make such calculations inaccurate with real-world situations:
You wouldn’t see or hear in EV-aficionado circles about the consumer’s reports of complete battery drain while being parked in slightly cold (10 degrees C) weather in about nine days;
Still related, one has to take into account the high-power consumption of heaters, draining the battery as fast as one drinks a cold beer on a hot summer day. An ICE is inefficient, as more than 60% of the gas turns into heat. But that heat is magnificent in cold weather, as the driver does not have to worry about draining the tank to heat up his car (or drive fully winter-clothed). Herein I mention the producers’ lying about the range, which is calculated under optimal conditions, rarely present in real life;
The costs and “media pollution” associated with EV marketing, government incentives or other schemes meant to trick the public into acquiring an EV;
The lost time spent while charging the EV. Time is money, and time spent in a car waiting for it to charge drains both the available work time and free time of the driver;
Oil refineries are blamed for using energy that could be used instead for propelling electric cars. Yet one forgets that byproducts of the oil industry are utilized in numerous ways. For instance, a forceful (lowering) demand shock of diesel and gasoline would raise the prices of plastic products. Plastic products lifted the standards of living throughout the planet for the past decades and continue to do so (think of recyclability and affordability of a wide range of products used in healthcare, industry, automotive, technology, or chemistry);
The costs associated with the losses of income of people affected by rare metal mining, which are not able to profit from growing food, bringing in tourists (e.g. lithium mining destroys landscapes), or relying on clean water brought from distant regions.
True environmental impact of the EV surge
Disregarding the gas that most living creatures normally produce through respiration, there are more and more details surfacing about the actual environmental impact of the EV, especially when it comes to producing the batteries and transporting the electricity:
Batteries are made using many different minerals, especially lithium. Lithium is mined using a huge amount of water; in parts of the world, lithium mining already depleted more than half of the water reserves, affecting drastically the lives of indigenous farmers. Lithium can also leak into underground water, altering the soil and killing fauna and livestock. This is not MSM’s climate anxiety; this is actual people who once lived peacefully, and are now losing their sources of food and water;
Cobalt mining is another socio-economic disability: most of its mining (around 70%) takes place in Congo, but the mines are owned and/or controlled by Chinese companies. You have the Chinese companies controlling the monopoly of a rare metal in a poor African country; slavery, poor payment, child labor, human rights violations are on the menu. I will stick to diesel;
Massive amounts of toxic waste are created for rare earth elements (e.g. dysprosium and neodymium) mining: around 2,000 tonnes for 1 ton of rare earth element;
Simply put, there are not enough minerals to cover for practically building the necessary batteries and electricity transportation grids. For copper, miles-deep mines would need to be excavated. It would take millennia to extract the needed lithium to fully replace ICE cars;
I would add that oil spills are indeed unwanted and polluting. However, these are rare “accidents” and not a normal part of the equation, as we can see in the case of EV battery fabrication. Not to mention that scientists are actively developing new oil removal solutions.
Scotty Kilmer, a classic opponent of electric cars
Scotty Kilmer, a 69-year old YouTube star with 54+ years of experience working on cars still uploads three videos per day, 365 days per year. You could say he’s seen it all in matter of cars. His YouTube channel is the most watched independent car show in the world. When corporate ones are taken into account, only two channels surpass him. However, he is famous for his honesty and direct approach. To quote him: “Never any sponsored content, just the truth!”
He never misses the chance to blame the national-corporate machine for pushing the EVs to the public. Also, he never forgoes the chance to expose the disadvantages of EVs, either by discussing with EV owners, or by disseminating proper news. For instance, he talks with owners about the short lifespan of an EV’s battery. When the battery no longer allows attaining the required range, the buyers are left with two choices. Either buy a new one for exorbitant prices (in excess of $10.000 and up to $20.000 at the time of this writing, not including labor) or get a refurbished one which is cheaper, but only part of its cells are renewed (and thus having a shorter lifespan).
Forget about getting your hands dirty at doing any maintenance on the EV, Scotty says. Handling tens of thousands of volts requires specialized equipment, including expensive gloves for protection. The know-how of working with EV’s is also precious, and rare.
He knows the climate baloney surrounding EVs. To paraphrase him: “Electric cars don’t have tailpipe emissions, but making that lithium is one of the filthiest, uses up water, uses up energy, pollutes all kinds of stuff in the planet. Sure, you don’t see that pollution because it’s somewhere else. But it’s one planet we live on, and if you want to save the planet you can’t save a little bit over here, but then pollute a lot more over there.”
The push from governments all over the world towards EV-ification, as with any other government intervention, created incentives for unhealthy market processes. But the truth is catching up. Dealerships across the US are starting to become more hesitant to accepting to sell EVs, reasons including high prices, more expensive maintenance and unclear market signals.
When it comes to innovation, EVs seem to have reached a dead end. Until scientists are able to come with novel, cleaner ideas for energy storage, the EV hype should be abandoned. Some innovation did come into play to improve the battery capacity or mining techniques, but they have come with a huge cost: the lost innovation in other fields. Which fields? Only the free market can tell, if unfettered. Trying to abolish prosperous free-market processes is against the human nature, more so when the environmental impact is both disguised and wrapped in a globalist moral obligation at the same time.
I will end with a quote attributed to Thomas Sowell: “Everybody is an environmentalist in the sense of not wanting to breathe polluted air or drink polluted water. But in practice the term has come to refer to a pagan nature worship cult that readily sacrifices other human beings on the altar to their dogmas.” We should be reluctant to everything that’s pushed onto us.
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