Electric vehicles, now

This part is likely negative for the environment:

Biden administration will also pursue direct-consumer rebates to encourage American car buyers to swap out fossil-fuel-powered cars for zero-emission vehicles.

Source: Biden administration promises an EV era, new world for the auto industry – Roadshow

If you already have a fuel efficient vehicle, the best thing you can do for the environment is to repair and maintain it and continue driving it as long as you can.

A significant part of a vehicle’s life time energy consumption takes place during the vehicle’s manufacture. The strategy of swapping out perfectly good ICE vehicles for EVs is a net negative for the environment.

I wrote about this in the past: here, here, and especially here.  Also a large set of past posts on electric vehicles.

In 2019, we considered getting an EV or solar PV. The decision, from an environmental standpoint was easy: get solar PV on the house.

Why?

Because 70% of our grid power comes from fossil fuels (and the remaining 30% is unspecified but also includes fossil fuels). Buying an EV would have replaced my fuel efficient Honda Fit and would have moved fossil fuel usage from the vehicle back to the electrical grid.

By installing solar PV, we directly offset the utility’s fossil fuels. We will not know for a while yet but it appears our relatively small solar PV installation  has offset more than 100% of our own electricity. Note that we live in a sunny, high desert, 4-season climate in eastern Oregon.

Most people will not do these calculations – and will respond to government financial incentives to take steps – like replacing fuel efficient vehicles with EVs – which are an actual net negative for the environment and for climate.

Sadly, that is why it is 50:50 whether a government policy is helpful or harmful.