Opinion: Paying Californians to buy pricey electric cars: Isn’t there a better way to help the environment?

An electric Fiat is plugged into a charging station in a parking lot in Los Angeles on April 25, 2016.
An electric Fiat is plugged into a charging station in a parking lot in Los Angeles on April 25, 2016.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

To the editor: Although it’s nice that state politicians want to hand out money to well-to-do people who want to buy an electric car, I wonder if they have any idea how much of a difference all that taxpayer money would actually make toward our spending habits, much less our climate woes. (“What would it take to persuade you to buy an electric car?” editorial, Sept. 1)

An average car on the road is about 11 years old. A new hybrid or electric car costs, at a minimum, about $25,000. The price for a new car is out of reach for most Californians unless they take out a massive loan or make the questionable decision to lease.

I’m not driving an electric car, and my next car also won’t be one. They’re simply too expensive, and it would be ludicrous of me to ask the government to pay for my car.

But legislators like Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) are trying to increase the amount the state pays people to buy electric cars. They don’t have any problem giving our tax money to giant corporations so upper- and middle-class Californians can drive too-expensive automobiles.

Isn’t there a better way to help the environment?

Mike Flanagan, Los Angeles



To the editor: The proposed rebates to achieve cost parity between internal-combustion and all-electric vehicles would accomplish much, but the question is how to fund it. One option worth considering is a revenue-neutral “feebate.”

Levy a fee on the purchase of internal-combustion vehicles sufficient to fund a rebate (or sales credit as detailed in the article) on the purchase of all-electric vehicles. With price parity, a virtuous cycle can emerge, with higher sales leading to lower costs for all EVs, further lowering costs.

Randall Gellens, San Diego


To the editor: There is one reason I will not buy a battery-based hybrid or an all-electric car: the battery. The environmental costs of producing and “recycling” the battery are very high.

The heavy metals used in producing and recycling batteries pushes the problem further away from the roads we drive on and even into different countries. Nor does the use of batteries in cars eliminate carbon emissions: Those are created at the power plant that generates the electricity.

As California wants to move to clean, renewable energy, the conversation must change from energy generation to energy storage. Battery storage will create new environmental problems that the next generation must solve. When the conversation changes to how to store energy, such as in hydrogen fuel cells, we can truly move to green electricity.

Jonathan Gush, Ventura

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