“The Dirty Truth about Combustion Engine Vehicles”
Created by Mark Linthicum, 14 minutes, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk-LnUYEXuM
Review by Victoria Ines
It is common knowledge that Tesla cars are incredibly expensive. Personally, I have always wondered why they are so costly and whether they are even worth the money. Of course, I knew that electric vehicles (EVs) were more environmentally friendly than petrol cars, but I have never fully considered the benefits of an EV. However, after watching an animation on the difference between EVs and petrol cars I was able to appreciate the differences, and I now realize why electric cars are a much better choice for environmentally conscious consumers.
The animation “The Dirty Truth about Combustion Engine Vehicles” mainly aims to refute the misconception that the process to power an EV pollutes the same amount as a petrol car. Robert Llewellyn, the host of the YouTube channel Fully Charged, narrated an animation created by Mark Linthicum. With the use of interesting and well-designed graphics, as well as effective facts, Linthicum was able to make a solid case as to why it is unfounded to argue that EVs and petrol cars cause comparable pollution.
To make his point, Linthicum compared the electricity usage of a single pump jack (used to pump oil) to driving a Tesla Model 3. According to Linthicum, a single month of pumping oil is equivalent to either 9,960 kilowatt-hours or driving a Tesla for 34,860 miles. That means that the choice would be between a mere month of pumping oil (unprocessed and unready to power a conventional car) or 3 entire years of driving a Tesla. Consider then the fact that there are a total of 435,000 oil wells that use pump jacks in the United States. There are underwater offshore oil rigs as well, which use 20 to 30 metric tons of diesel, the equivalent of 300,000 kilowatt-hours. Not only that, but there are several subsequent steps to converting oil into usable energy. For instance, the transportation of oil is also a major cause of pollution. The ships that transport the oil are such heavy polluters that some countries do not even allow them to be piloted near their coasts. Similarly, oil refineries are the largest source of pollution where they operate.
As Linthicum continues to make his arguments, it seems more and more ridiculous to use billions of kilowatt-hours to generate usable oil, rather than simply use that electricity to directly power electric vehicles. This is particularly true because after the oil is converted into usable material, over 70% of energy is wasted when fuel is used in combustion engines. However, some still argue that the negative environmental consequences of lithium mining are much too great. Linthicum makes it clear that this argument is not valid. For instance, Australia produces the largest amount of lithium in the world. Even though Australia refines 0.25% of the world’s oil, but mines 50% of the world’s lithium, its oil refineries are still much more damaging in terms of pollution.
I am definitely not saying that all readers should immediately buy a Tesla, but as electric cars become more mainstream, most major car manufacturers are designing and building their own electric cars. It has become increasingly affordable to buy an electric car, and many people are incentivized by the idea of saving money on gas. As a high school junior, I am not an expert on cars — I don’t yet have a car and have not considered buying one. However, after watching this video, it has become clear to me that electric cars are the future of driving and using them can be an important step toward a healthier planet.
Victoria Ines is a junior at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, NY. She is passionate about working to protect both the environment and endangered species. After high school, she would like to attend a four-year college to study engineering or biology.