The New York Times published an opinion article by Farhad Manjoo, There’s One Big Problem With Electric Cars, and He cuts right to the chase on the first line: “They’re still cars. Technology can’t cure America of its addiction to the automobile.”
That problem isn’t just gas-fueled cars but car-fueled lives — a view of the world in which huge private automobiles are the default method of getting around. In this way E.V.s represent a very American answer to climate change: To deal with an expensive, dangerous, extremely resource-intensive machine that has helped bring about the destruction of the planet, let’s all buy this new version, which runs on a different fuel.
This is why I’m hesitant to discuss the fossil fuels when I write against car culture. It’s clear that the ongoing climate crisis is an ineffective talking point. Even for people sympathetic to the crisis, they’re more likely to drive a greenwashed car than they are to live car-free. The problem is that people simply cannot imagine living without their automobiles.
But I think that’s fine, because there are many other reasons to wage the war on SUVs. One of the most underreported, but most scandalous, is that they literally kill people. The more SUVs and pickup trucks we put on the street, the more people die. Not from their exhaust, but from their bullbars. Traffic crashes is one topic that hits close to home for everyone.
We don’t need to guilt car owners into just buying a different kind of car. We need to offer mobility alternatives that can free drivers from the cycle of car ownership.