Opinion: Electric cars aren’t perfect, but we EV drivers are glad to have one now

A battery-electric Nissan Leaf is plugged in at a charging station in San Pedro on Dec. 2, 2021.
A battery-electric Nissan Leaf is plugged in at a charging station in San Pedro on Dec. 2, 2021.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

If you’re paying for gasoline right now, you probably don’t want to hear from smug electric car drivers — but I am one of those people, so please accept my apologies at the outset. We’re the ones who were surprised by fuel prices (if we happened to notice them driving past a gas station) long before most people began paying $5 or $6 per gallon for the stuff.

Of course, electric cars are not the solution to climate change and any number of woes they’re often made out to be. They too exact an environmental toll and perpetuate all the problems of car culture, minus the local emissions. But they are undeniably less awful for the world than internal-combustion vehicles — and they are plainly better cars, as any EV driver can tell you. All this was true before the recent spike in gas prices.

Now, with Russia’s assault on Ukraine persisting and international sanctions causing the price of oil to increase, we’re hearing from readers imploring the public to make the switch from gas-burning to electron-powered transport, among other suggested changes. Plenty of letter writers have expressed a willingness to pay higher gas prices as a consequence of sanctions against Russia, but a smaller number is reminding us that options exist for not buying gas at all.



To the editor: Now is the time to purchase an electric vehicle. Between climate change, high fuel costs and dependence on foreign oil, most drivers can make the move painlessly.

If you are a two-car household, replace your gas guzzler with an electric car. Use your EV for all close-range driving, and save your gas car for long trips. You will be shocked at how much you will save without auto repairs and gas consumption.

I purchased an EV nine years ago. Since then, my second gas vehicle has averaged 3,000 miles a year.

Edward Jacobs, Santa Monica


To the editor: As a recent college graduate, one of the things on my to-do list is choosing my first car. In the past, this would have been a relatively simple task, but as I researched recent car prices and maintenance costs, I was shocked.

With the unspeakable horrors from the Russian invasion of Ukraine making their way on the news, Western nations have united in punishing the autocratic government by imposing sanctions and bans, including on Russian oil and gas.


Russia’s incursion has spread chaos throughout global energy markets. The station just outside my apartment is selling gas for about $7 a gallon.

Electric vehicles are not subject to the same price fluctuations on oil. On average it takes between $10 and $45 to fuel your electric car at a power station, versus roughly $150 to fill some gas-powered cars now. Are we going to wait to switch to EVs as the war drags on and prices rise to $8, $9, $10 per gallon?

Electric vehicles are the answer now and tomorrow.

Grant So Go, Los Angeles


To the editor: It’s truly said to see the images of innocent people dying and suffering in Ukraine, like the one of a pregnant woman being carried away from a war zone. And it’s also sad that many Americans feel helpless and are feeling the pain of high gasoline prices.

But we can all make an immediate impact by reducing our personal gasoline consumption.

Most Americans drive to work and could very easily find or join a carpool. You will help not only the Ukrainians but also yourself by reducing your fuel costs and wear and tear on your vehicle, not to mention reducing traffic.

Jesus Rodriguez, Downey



To the editor: Why isn’t President Biden demanding we switch our entire fleet to electric, right now? Why isn’t every single reporter noting this solution, especially when describing pain at the pump?

After Ukraine comes another petro-war. After Ukraine fades from the headlines — hopefully sooner rather than later — comes climate catastrophe.

During World War II, America retooled its car factories to make bombers, tanks and more in a matter of months. Every major auto company is already producing electric vehicles, and renewable energy to fuel them has never been cheaper.

How much more agony will we allow before we make the moral choice?

Zan Dubin-Scott, Santa Monica

The writer is co-founder of National Drive Electric Week.


To the editor: I’m OK with paying more at the pump. But what I cynically worry about is if we are paying for a proxy war by paying at the pump now. I will consider buying a secondhand EV and biking more if that is the case.


I hope the war in Ukraine ends soon, but I don’t buy that oil companies with taxpayer subsidies and near-record profits in recent years cannot operate at a loss in times of war and pandemic like other industries have had to.

It’s inevitable that gas prices will go up. Now is the time to learn to live without fossil fuels. We should free ourselves from fossil fuels and traditional car travel (even tires add microplastics to our food and land) as we solve the energy and climate crises.

Supun Edirisinghe, Carson