Opinion: California law takes steps toward a greener future with electric cars, but are we there yet?


“California law takes steps toward a greener future with electric cars, but are we there yet?” Image 1: Gas-powered cars are pictured emitting toxic greenhouse gasses with a dark background alluding to heavy air pollution. Image 2: An electric car from which emits leaves alludes to “clean” fuel and non-carbon transportation. (MIA CALIVA/ Ethic News image)

Recently, California heard the latest news on future plans to combat climate change as of September 23, 2022. 

Governor Gavin Newson and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that by 2035 a ban on the sale of gas-powered vehicles would be implemented in the state of California. 

This has been considered a huge success for environmentalists and their fight against climate change, but many voters are against this new ban. This ban will massively affect California environmentally and the rest of the country as well. But, with every progressive step toward a greener future, there’s always a behind-the-scenes.

Thousands of electric charging stations will be built in the decades to come to accommodate electronic transportation. Eventually, we will see that electric charging stations outnumber gas stations, and many gas station companies will even transform their gas stations into electric charging sites. 

Electric cars come in a large variety, meaning the time taken to fully charge a vehicle can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, keeping in mind possible technological advancements in the future. For this reason, many charging stations will need to be built to provide convenience and avoid traffic as drivers likely will not wait more than 10-20 minutes to charge their car. 

Naturally, we will also see home and residential charging stations becoming increasingly common.

There are currently 32 battery-electric vehicle models available in the United States. A large portion of which come from luxury brands such as Tesla, Cadillac, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. 

With the electric car market being made up mostly of luxury brands, it is evident that buying an electric car is not an accommodation many people will be able to make after 2035 and engenders the need for affordable, accessible electric vehicles. 

Thankfully, new and future innovations in technology allow for the manufacturing costs of electric vehicles to become cheaper, enabling the production of more affordable cars. The battery manufacturing costs of electric cars are estimated to go down by 77% over the next decade. 

California licensed driver and Citrus Valley high school 11th-grade student Mackenzie Cordova says that “due to the high increases of oil prices, having electric cars wouldn’t be the worst idea. It may save our economy in the future.” 

Suddenly, the fancy electric cars that seemed so unattainable will eventually be in the same price range as the average gas-powered car. 

As of 2020, 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation alone. 

The emission of greenhouse gasses worsens climate change because it traps heat within the atmosphere, thus remitting the heat back onto Earth and heating up the planet. This causes extreme weather conditions, droughts, melting of ice caps, and increased wildfires.

In addition, greenhouse gases cause a number of health conditions, including respiratory disease caused by smog and air pollution. 

To increase our Earth’s lifespan for the benefit of its inhabitants, including ourselves, decarbonization of transportation is essential. 

Despite the fact that banning the sale of gas cars will become extremely beneficial to the health of our environment, our electric vehicle technology has not yet fully ensured clean, zero-carbon cars. Electric cars aren’t as “clean and green” as one may think. Electric vehicles are powered by lithium batteries and contain many other minerals, such as copper and nickel, that are quite costly and dirt to mine. Lithium is extracted from hard rock mines and the mining process causes 15 tons of carbon dioxide emissions for every single ton of mined lithium. 

This makes the decarbonization of transportation far less efficient than we are aiming for. If we do not find a cleaner way to manufacture these batteries, our climate change situation will stay exactly the same. As always, we are forced to rely on future innovations and technologies. 

For the sake of energy efficiency, climate change, and reduced carbon emissions, this ban will most beneficially impact our world and marks a major stepping stone for our mission in saving the planet. 

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