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SHOULD COUNTRY ALLOW ONLY GREEN CARS

Now the question ‘Should country allow only Green Cars’ is entirely rhetorical and hypothetical. The obvious answer is yes when looking over the environmental aspect. Is it possible? Let’s read the article to find out. Green cars are electric automobiles that run on electric energy via rechargeable batteries. Green Cars currently account for 1% of the entire global stock of cars and, in absolute value, are at a gross number of 17.5 million. Electric Cars still account for only 9% of the global share in the new car sales index as per reports of 2021. At the same time, the average global carbon footprint is around 4 tonnes per person. You will not be shocked to know that China, the USA, and India are the top 3 countries contributing maximum to GHG emissions. As per discussions concluded in Cop24, the intake of the countries toward carbon footprint and their commitment towards climate was pathetic. There was a stagnation, particularly in the transport sector. 23% of the global carbon footprint accounts for the transport sector. Hence transitioning to greener mobility is quite significant for the overall success of the climate agenda. After these massive GHG emission numbers, countries are still reliant on fossil fuels for means of transport. But, there has been a noteworthy shift in public transport. Countries are relying more on electric engines compared to traditional engines. The investment cost is high, but electric vehicles are more sustainable and cost-friendly when calculated over several years.

The main issue lies in the ownership of private vehicles. 2-3 persons at max use the vehicle but account for a substantial GHG emission. If we compare the emission levels between private and public transportation, the results would astonish you. The average local bus emits around 82g of CO2 per km. The average emission of a petrol car is around 180g of CO2 per km. Now suppose 40 people travel by bus, whereas only an ordinary two people benefit from a private car. If you compare the utility, you would realize how unfair the human race has been toward nature. As per a BBC report, it has been stated that compared to traditional vehicles, electric vehicles only emit ⅓ or lower GHG emissions. We have considered various data to support the argument that electric cars are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel cars. We should also consider avoiding using any vehicle as much as possible. For instance, In England, around 60% of 1-2 km trips are made by car. This is the purest form of argument why private vehicles are so destructive in nature. Some countries are initiating spending on direct alternatives to vehicular transport. In the Netherlands(26%), Denmark(18%), and Germany(10%), all journeys are made via bicycle transport. All three countries mentioned above had major policy changes in the early 1970s and continue to invest in cycling infrastructure.

We have analyzed the impact of electric cars on environmental factors. Let's take a look at the impact on the oil industry. Passenger vehicles represent one-quarter of the total oil demand. The value is around 25 million barrels per day out of an estimated demand of 94 million barrels per day. Even different governments have instructed a phaseout of fossil fuel-powered cars beyond 2030 or 2040. Thus, we have established an inverse relationship between EV sales and Oil demand. In the early 1990s, EVs were in demand, but soon the giants in the automotive industry ruled out EVs on account of utility. EVs produced during the 1990s worked on a hybrid mode using electric energy to some extent. The giants in the car manufacturing industry crushed the movement since they were threatened. Evs had the potential to destroy the entire booming fossil fuel industry. Let's take an example of the Indian economy. The Council on Energy, Environment and Water researched that "30 percent EV sales share in 2030 will lead to savings on crude oil imports worth INR 1.1 lakh crore (USD 14.1 billion). A combination of high public transport mode-share with 30 percent EV sales will further lead to INR 2.2 lakh crore (28.3 billion) of savings on crude oil imports. EVs do have a lot of fixed capital investment. From the research stated above, there is a huge trade-off. Still, ultimately the balance would be positive over the long term with an increase in oil reserves for the future generation and a sustainable environment.

Earlier, we have discussed various arguments in favor of Evs as a sustainable growth model. Now, let's discuss how different economies in the world can bring this transition. Norway has topped the list of transitions to EVs. European countries, in particular, have been most successful in effecting this shift. The policies adopted by some European nations to cut down the GHG emission and incentivize the use of EVs are as follows:

1. Taxation- In this policy, the government introduced an increase in the fuel tax rate that would offset the negative externalities such as CO2 emission, noise, air pollution, road congestion, and health hazards. At the same time incentivizes the purchase of EVs by subsidizing them. These policies are not socially acceptable since this policy puts a constraint on mobility and a huge burden on wallets.

2. Incentivising- This policy results in a huge loss of revenue on the part of the government. The entire policy aims at stimulating the purchase of EVs. The physical imparts include rebates on EVs, zero imports, VAT, road tax, and toll-free travel. Furthermore, setting up sustainable charging units financed entirely by the government. This policy has produced wonders, as depicted in Norway. Almost 50% of newly registered passenger vehicles correspond to electric vehicles.

3. Free public transport- This policy has serious fiscal imparts on the part of the government. It aims at ensuring free train, tram, and bus travel. This policy is socially acceptable, though it can result in huge fiscal deficits.

The above three policies indicate the awareness levels of the European Government toward climate and sustainability of the environment. Applying a proportionate part of all three policies would produce the best results in changing the people's outlook and transitioning fossil fuel cars to an era of green vehicles.

If we look at the degradation of the environment and answer the question on a normative statement as to 'Should countries allow only green cars,' the answer would be yes. Now we have taken scenarios from around the world and have discussed the Evs' impact on mainly two aspects environment and oil demand. EVs have been life-saving contributors to the sustainable environment for an extended period. Google scholar study showcase that if all internal combustion engines (ICE) transit to Electric vehicles, the carbon footprint in the year 2030 would be the same as in 2010. Private and industrial oil demand would drop significantly, resulting in financial savings and sustainability of fossil fuels for future generations. Though the idea of the entirety of Green Cars is quite enthralling, it is neither possible nor feasible in the short run. The first criteria that boycotts EVs are their utilities. In the generation of 10-minute delivery, charging the car for a couple of hours seems not feasible. Neither is it possible for the government since huge fixed capital investment on building sustainable charging points throughout the geographical area is quite unrealistic. Overall, in the long run, EVs will undoubtedly replace ICEs. The era of real estate, dot com, IT sector, crypto chain, etc., will be succeeded by an era of Green Cars.


Reference

1. V.C Martin. (24 July,2015). ELECTRIC CARS, Under the hood of the fantastic future for green cars and transport. NextGen

2. Vandycke, N., Sarriera, J.M. & Sehmi, G.S. (2018,December 19). Moving toward green mobility: three countries, three different paths. World Bank. https://blogs.worldbank.org/transport/moving-toward-green-mobility-three-countries-three-different-paths

3. Timperley, J. (2020, March 18). How our daily travel harms the planet. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200317-climate-change-cut-carbon-emissions-from-your-commute

4. Edelstein, S. (2016, June 23). Which countries have plans for all new cars to be electric and when?. Green Car Reports. https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1104635_which-countries-have-plans-for-all-new-cars-to-be-electric-and-when

5. Kah, M. (2018, July). Electric vehicles and their impact on oil demand: Why forecasts differ?. Center on Global Energy Policy. https://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/pictures/CGEP_Electric%20Vehicles%20and%20Their%20Impact%20on%20Oil%20Demand-Why%20Forecasts%20Differ.pdf

6. Bp. (2016, December 9). How will electric cars affect oil demand?. https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/news-and-insights/reimagining-energy/spencer-dale-on-electric-vehicles-and-future-energy-demand.html

7. Soman, A., Kaur, H., Jain, H. & Ganesan, K. (2020, November). India’s electric vehicle transition. Council on Energy, Environment and Water. https://www.ceew.in/sites/default/files/CEEW-India's-EV-Transition-Post-COVID-19-22Dec20.pdf


Authored by Kushal Garg