Dunkin’ Donuts claims that “America runs on Dunkin,’” but in reality America runs on gasoline. In 2014 alone, about 136 billion gallons of gasoline were burned in the United States. While running on fossil fuels has gotten us this far, there are finite amounts of fossils to burn. With the world population continuing to balloon, it becomes essential to focus on sustainable energy sources. We may not be there quite yet, but we must begin to forge a path that makes sense for our future.
The electric car has seen its fair share of peaks and valleys during its existence. While the idea of an electric car may seem relatively recent, electric cars in the United States date back to the 1890’s. By 1900, approximately one-third of all cars were electric. The affordable price of the Model T dealt a crushing blow to electric cars, as did the low price of gasoline. In recent years, as gas prices have spiked and environmental consciousness has become more widespread, a new interest in electric cars has been reborn.
If oil is undeniably a limited resource, why haven’t we seen more electric cars on the road? According to the Wall Street Journal, certain misconceptions about electric cars have contributed to stagnant sales, including the perception that electric cars require more maintenance than a gas-powered vehicles and a lack of awareness of the tax incentives for electric cars. In reality, though, there are many reasons that consumers are reluctant to purchase an electric car.
The primary obstacles consumers cite when considering an electric car include the high price tag and the low mileage range per charge. It stands to reason that as interest continues to increase, more research and development will involve electric vehicles, leading the price to drop and the range to improve. Along the same lines, many are concerned the current charging infrastructure is not sufficient to make an electric vehicle a viable alternative, especially for long-distance travel. As more begin to adopt electric cars, the infrastructure will unvaryingly need to improve to meet the demand.
Some estimate that Millennials will account for 40% of new car purchases by 2020. CNBC reports that while Millennials are more interested in alternative vehicles, many cannot afford new vehicle purchases, which more than likely will change in the next five years. AutoTrader.com believes “if you give those 25-year-olds a decade or so, they’ll be ready to buy a car that strikes their fancy, and we expect automakers will be there waiting with expanded rosters of attractive hybrids and EVs.”
As we collectively take action to preserve our environment for future generations, sustainable sources of energy will become a driving force when it comes to what powers our vehicles. Gas prices are notoriously fickle and there still remains a strong movement to reduce our national dependency on oil. As technology, education, and infrastructure all improve, so will the viability of the alternative fuel vehicles. In the meantime, innovation in gas-powered vehicles will be needed to bridge the gap to the future.