Thursday, August 25, 2022

new car law

California is proposing a law that new gasoline-powered cars will cease to be sold in about 13 years. This is in the tradition of laws (state or federal) that mandated seat belts in new cars, or that required new cars to run on unleaded instead of leaded gas. The car manufacturers whined over those, but they got them done.

What will really enforce this law will be the gradual disappearance, in subsequent years, of gas stations. Once it becomes too difficult to fuel your car, you'll switch. This happened with leaded gas. For many years stations sold both leaded and unleaded, but gradually the leaded disappeared, and if you still had an old car you were out of luck.

We need two things to make an all-electric car environment work. One is fueling infrastructure. We're building that, rapidly. Good. The other is to get the price of electric cars down. Right now they cost about 4 or 5 times as much as a gas car. That's too great a difference. Tax credits will not help the people who need help the most. Technological advances that make them less expensive to build would be ideal. The substitute would be rebates, built into the purchase price so you don't have to fork over the money and apply for the rebate afterwards. In urban areas we're already developing a system where it's easy not to own a car and just rent one when you need it, and that's good, but that won't work elsewhere without a massive rebuilding of the entire environment.

But what I want to know is: what about hydrogen fuel-cell cars? I test-drove one of those, and if they're technically perfected, become available at a reasonable price, and acquire a reasonable fueling infrastructure, I'd much prefer one. They fuel with a physical substance, so it's easier to figure out how much range you have left than psyching out electric charge; and I believe they're less harmful to the environment, without those giant honking batteries and huge electric charges zapping around: hydrogen is very easy to get. And as for hydrogen being explosive, so is gasoline and we manage that.

1 comment:

  1. Electric car prices start under $30,000, says Car & Driver. A lot of people pay more than that for SUVs, luxury models, etc