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Michael Cisneros
Rebecca Miner
English 1010
Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars
There has been an on-going concern of how long fossil fuels will last until we use the last
drop of fuel. With this concern the hybrid car was made for production by Toyota with their Prius
back in 2001. But with further science, car companies have been able to make a full electric
vehicle available for production. However with current debates going on, is going full electric
the best option?
Interviewed by Megan McArdle from The Daily Beast in the article Hybrids Are the Most
Economically Viable Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Jeremy Michalek states Plug-in hybrids are
currently a better alternative to gasoline-powered cars than electric vehicles (EVs). In truth, EVs
currently have a limited range and long fueling times, making them impractical for many drivers,
and the cost of producing larger batteries to improve the range of EVs is currently prohibitive
(Michalek 1). Michalek is a professor of engineering and public policy in mechanical
engineering in Carnegie Mellon University from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Michalek views
electric vehicle as impractical as the currently have a limited driving range and would make road
trips nearly twice as long with having to deal with recharging. He gives the example of driving a
Nissan leaf, For example, when I visit my family in Michigan, it's a 320-mile trip, about 5
hours. If I were driving a Nissan Leaf, even at the best efficiency (and even if every rest stop had

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the fastest refueling capabilities) I'd have to stop at nearly every rest stop nearly every hour, to
charge for a half hour. This turns my 5 hour trip into more like an 8 hour trip (Michalek 1).
There has been attempts to change driving habits in order to get a longer driving range
with electric vehicles. Jeff Ward-Bailey from the Christian Science Monitor researched Bjorn
Nyland, a Danish man who owned a Tesla Model S P85D, Nyland was able to drive his Tesla for
a total of 452.8 miles, which is roughly from Salt Lake City, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada, on a
single charge using a method known as Hypermiling. Hypermiling is when the driver attempts
to maximize vehicle efficiency by driving at slow speeds without using the cars air conditioning
system, car radio or anything can potentially drain the cars battery quicker. Ward-Bailey also
talks about maximizing efficiency with gas cars with hypermiling By looking far ahead of your
vehicle, you can ease off the gas and coast to a stop rather than slamming on the brakes.
Hypermilers also advocate avoiding jackrabbit starts and accelerating up hills - instead,
accelerate gently and let momentum carry you over elevation changes (Ward-Bailey 1).
Tony James from Engineering and Technology, wrote the article, How to reach 100 mpg.
James researched car manufacturer Ford and their new car at the time, the Ford Fiesta Studio.
The Studio came with a one-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-charged engine -the one-litre
EcoBoost - which delivered 135 horsepower (James 2). That being said, the Fiesta can travel an
average of 50 miles per gallon with the help of its 1.1 litre, fuel injected engine. When James
interviewed manager of gasoline engine development group from Ford, Andrew Fraser, Fraser
stated aim of delivering an extremely efficient gasoline power train with CO2 emissions
below lOOg/km without a detrimental effect on the car's performance. By adding an electric
supercharger, and additional energy capture and storage, this was achieved successfully (James

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3). With all the added modifications to the car, it has substantially helped with reducing carbon
In Margaret Krizs article, No Silver Bullet, Kriz states that the average person travels less
than thirty miles each day. The thirty miles daily is normally from just driving from home to
work and back. Kriz also states that an electric vehicle can do up to forty miles on a single
charge, which will make an electric vehicle practical for the average American. Car companies
manufacture some plug-in vehicles with 110-volt outlets, which is the average wall outlet in
American homes. Currently, many companies now offer car charging stations which will help
Americans who have a longer commute to be able to charge their vehicles while at work.
Michalek talks about how electric cars with a smaller batter pack may cost more
due to the redesign of the battery cells to still retain as much power as bigger batteries. He also
states Finally, the future cost of batteries will depend on a lot of factors, such as the size of the
economies of scale we get with higher production volume, how much we learn about how to
manufacture batteries more efficiently, and the magnitude of technological advances that could
bring costs down (Michalek 2). With advancing technology every year, it is possible to see
electric vehicles taking over the car market.
Even if you have a solar panel on your roof, if you charge your vehicle at
night (as most of us would), the electricity generated to charge that vehicle will
come from coal in many regions. It's not just about the average electricity in a
regionit matters which plants would turn on to meet the extra demand from
your plug-in vehicle. In many regions at night, where demand is low, some coal
plants turn off. If extra charging demand is added at night, coal plants may be the
first to turn back on in response (because they are cheap) (Michalek 4).

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This being said, that means that typical coal powered electric companies will need to run more
coal during the night to meet with high demands from electric vehicles. This added demand may
cause a bigger pollution crisis in the long run. In the article it is also mentioned that a bigger
battery pack isnt necessarily better for longer ranges, this is due to the added weight that will
cause quicker power drainage.
In a group research article by John D. Graham, Joshua Cisney, Sanya Carley, and John
Rupp, in their article No Time for Pessimism about electric cars, they mention the perks of
deciding to go with an electric vehicle. Some states and cities have gone further by offering EV
[electric vehicle] owners additional incentives, HOV-lane access, and low-cost city parking
(Graham, Cisney, Carley, Rupp 1). In the article it is also mentioned that the federal government
offers a $7,500 federal tax credit with the purchase of an electric vehicle. Also in some states like
California and Colorado, on top of the $7,500, they offer $1,000 to $2,500 credit on their own
qualified electric vehicles. These incentives offered by states and federal government is to help
push the popularity of electric vehicles, and to help reduce carbon dioxide caused by gas
powered cars. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is actually funding research,
development, and demonstration programs to improve EV-related systems. Loan guarantees and
grants are also being used to support the production of battery packs, electric drive-trains,
chargers, and the start-up of new plus-in vehicle assembly plans (Graham, Cisney, Carley, Rupp
1). The push for electric vehicles was started with Californias Zero Emission Vehicle program in
the 1990s. In another group research article conducted by Jeremy J. Michalek, Mikhail Chester,
and Constantine Samaras in their article, Getting the Most Out of Electric Vehicle Subsidies, they
mention Some members of congress have proposed extending this tax credit [the $7,500 tax
credit on electric vehicles], others have proposed eliminating it, and President Obama proposed

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increasing the credit to $10,000 to help meet his administrations target of one million plug-in
vehicles on the road by 2015 (Michalek, Chester, Samaras 1).
With Gasoline resources being used on a daily basis with our cars, generators, and other
internal combustion tools, the United States is trying to aggressively push electric vehicles with
their benefits on greenhouse gases. This big push is barley in the beginning phases, which means
there is a lot of bugs that need to get fixed like driving ranges, charging times, and coal pollution
caused by electric companies that are receiving high demand during the night. With current bugs
being fixed, the plug-in hybrid, which has an electric motor for certain range then the gas engine
kicks in, appears to currently be the best medium between electric vehicles and gas powered

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Works Cited
Graham, John D., et al. "No time for pessimism about electric cars: the national push to adopt
electric cars should be sustained until at least 2017, when a review of federal auto
policies is scheduled." Issues in Science and Technology 31.1 (2014): 33+. Opposing
Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Nov. 2015
James, Tony. "How to... ...Reach 100Mpg." Engineering & Technology (17509637) 8.1 (2013):
26-30. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
Kriz, Margaret. "No Silver Bullet. (Cover Story)." National Journal 38.31 (2006): 16. TOPIC
search. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.
Michalek, Jeremy. "Hybrids Are the Most Economically Viable Alternative Fuel Vehicles."
Hybrid and Electric Cars. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press,
2015. At Issue. Rpt. from "Electric Vehicles May Be the Green Car of the Future, But
Hybrids Are the Green Car of the Present." Daily Beast. 2013. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.
Michalek, Jeremy J., Mikhail Chester, and Constantine Samaras. "Getting the most out of electric
vehicle subsidies." Issues in Science and Technology 28.4 (2012): 25+. Opposing
Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
Ward-Bailey, Jeff. "Driver blows past Tesla's mileage rating, cruising 452 miles on one charge."
Christian Science Monitor 26 Aug. 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 10 Nov.