ICE, ICE, Baby

Unlike a lot of car enthusiasts, I don’t really have much brand loyalty. I’ll give pretty much any vehicle a try that seems well-suited to fit a need. That’s why at the tender age of 51, I’ve owned 40 different cars and trucks from 11 different manufacturers.

That said, Jeeps seem to be my thing lately. For me, that line of vehicles has the right mix of durability, capability and versatility. Plus, they’re all good-looking. One Jeep-badged SUV or another has been my “go to” daily driver since 2015…

But maybe not for much longer. Because I have to say, I’m licking my chops right now over the new Ford Bronco. Have you seen it? I think it looks buckin’ awesome, especially the retro two-door version.

And with a seven-speed manual transmission that features a super-low “creeper” gear available in many of its configurations, that Bronco is really talking my lingo.

There aren’t enough stick-shifts on the market anymore. And the prospect of tackling some gnarly state-park and fire roads in one of those three-pedal bad-boys is keeping me up at night.

The smaller, more refined-looking Bronco Sport looks to have some solid off-road cred, too. It’s tempting me as well.

Bronco

The new Bronco Sport — look out, Jeep Cherokee![1]

But perhaps the sweetest part of all is that the entire revived Ford Bronco series of vehicles — at least initially — comes with good ol’ internal combustion engines, or “ICE” motors, as they’re commonly called nowadays.

Here’s why that pleases me…

I don’t mind electric cars — I mind the idea of being
forced to drive one in the “Land of the Free”

Because of all the inconvenient truths I’ve said and written in the past about the Green Movement’s deceptive messaging, the cultural role and resilience of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV’s) in America, and kick-gas automobiles like the 2020 Corvette C8…

I’ve gotten a reputation among my friends, colleagues — and my readers, too, no doubt — as “the guy who hates electric cars.” It isn’t true, though. I have nothing at all against electric vehicles (EVs). I admire pretty much all innovation of the four-wheeled variety. Plus, I love automotive history, and some of the first cars to roam on America’s roads were electric.

In fact, at the dawn of the 20th century, a full 38% of automobiles in the U.S. were battery-powered — a close second to steam propulsion at 40%. Conversely, just 22% of cars were powered by gasoline engines. That’s what the marketplace of the time dictated, so that’s how it was.

Point is, if a free and fair market once again decides that many, most, or all of America’s cars and trucks will be electric, so be it. I wouldn’t prevent that from happening, even if I had the power. Because as much as I love the throaty roar of a well-tuned American V8 redlining on high-octane gas, I love freedom even more…

That’s why I can’t stand the idea of our government strong-arming the free market at great cost to the nation and its people — for marginal benefit except in the fetid, seamy swamp of politics.

Because that’s exactly what the push toward mass-scale EV adoption in the United States is all about. And it’s easy to prove that to anyone with an open mind.

Why on Earth (literally) would the U.S.
adopt a universal EV standard?

I could write 10,000 words on this, easily.

But all I really need to do is hit two factual high spots of the issue, and you’ll be as convinced as I am that electric cars aren’t the environmental panacea the Far Left claims they are — and that their mass adoption would be downright harmful to America on multiple fronts. Here they are:

1) EVs AREN’T “ZERO EMISSION” — NOT BY A LONG SHOT

According to research published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Industrial Ecology, EVs only reduce greenhouse gases around 27% – 29% over the course of 125,000 miles compared to gas-powered ICEVs, from a “full cycle” carbon standpoint. For diesels, this reduction is only on the order of 17% – 20%.

That’s because an EV’s manufacture — especially the mining of the battery metals, and the processes used in the production of those batteries — creates an enormous amount of greenhouse gas. More than twice as much, in fact, as the manufacture of an equivalent-sized ICEV…

And when you add in the greenhouse-gas quotient of the grid electricity used to charge an EV (which can vary substantially between regions), a comparable ICEV can actually have less of a cumulative impact on the climate over its first 50,000 miles or more.

In other words, the total climatic impact of electric vehicles is hugely front-loaded compared to similar gas or diesel vehicles — and that impact is ongoing, through the grid. That means you’ve really got to pile some miles on an EV in order to realize any meaningful benefit to the planet vs. an equivalent ICEV.

2) A U.S. EV MANDATE WOULD BARELY AFFECT GLOBAL GHG

The math on this seems very simple to me, but nobody seems to be doing it…

Here are the pertinent numbers to the calculation — based on the most recent data I could find, from the 2017-2018 calendar years:

  • The U.S. produces 14.75% of the world’s greenhouse gasses right now
  • Our transportation sector accounts for 28% of those greenhouse gasses
  • Within that sector, 59% of the GHG comes from light-duty passenger vehicles

So let’s do some math: Multiply 14.75 by .28 (to replicate 28%) and you get 4.13. That means just over 4% of the world’s GHG comes from U.S. transportation sources.

However, only 59% of those emissions come from the kinds of ICEVs folks like you and I drive every day — the rest comes from planes and trains and ships and heavy trucks and construction equipment, etc. So now do that math…

Take 4.13 times .59 (to replicate 59%) and you get 2.4367. In other words, less than 2.5% of the world’s atmospheric GHG these days comes from the gasoline and diesel-powered cars and trucks driven by millions of ordinary Americans.

But hold the phone a minute…

Remember, the “full cycle” greenhouse gas benefit of EVs over ICEVs is shown to be less than 30% over 125,000 miles of driving with typical sources of charging electricity. But even if we more than double that figure to a 60% GHG reduction for the EV — allowing for increases in battery longevity, driving miles, years of ownership, greener grid power, etc…

That basically means if you replaced every consumer light-duty ICEV in America with an EV right now, it would only reduce the total global atmospheric GHG output by around 1.5% in the very best case. And it would take more than a decade to do it, based on typical American driving habits.

That might be too optimistic, though. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that switching to an all-EV or plug-in standard for light-duty vehicles based on current technology (no pun intended) would only reduce America’s transportation-generated GHG emissions by one fifth, at most.

Going back to our original figure of 4.13% of global GHG emissions coming from the U.S. transport sector as a whole, a one-fifth reduction equals just under 1% of the total. So there’s your benefit, if you can call it that: A roughly 1% – 1.5% decrease.

And consider this, too: U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have been on a steady down-trend for years, falling over 14.5% since 2007. Our percentage of the global total is declining steadily, too…

So if this trend continues, any extreme measures we take as a nation to adopt an “EV standard” will have even less of an impact on the world’s atmosphere over time.

The bottom line, and zillion-dollar question, is this…

Is it fair and right that Americans should pay a huge price — financially, strategically, culturally, and commercially — to eliminate hundreds of millions of useful, versatile and beloved internal combustion vehicles for little, if any, global benefit?

Because that’s the Far Left’s objective, make no mistake. And if Joe Biden gets elected president, this movement is going to shift into high gear.

In the second part of this series, we’re going to explore where all this lunacy is coming from (it isn’t love for the planet) and how it weakens our nation…

We’ll also touch on what the United States of America really should do to help the global CO2 situation — but won’t.

It’s all coming soon. Stay tuned.

Combustibly Yours,

Jim Amrhein

Jim Amrhein
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder

[1] “Ford Bronco Sport Front”, by Ford, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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Jim Amrhein

Just like he was 15 years ago, when first he sullied the pages of the original Whiskey & Gunpowder e-Letter and various other forums, Jim is still ornery, opinionated, politically incorrect, and shamelessly patriotic. He’s also more convinced than ever before that government can’t do much of anything right — except expand in scope and...

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