The front page New York Times article on Nov. 11 graphs out the huge impact on the nation’s inflation caused by the 50% plus jump in fuel, oil and gasoline costs in the past year.
Three of the top four inflation influencers are petroleum products. Each of those could be reduced or eliminated by the conversion to electric energy. Last year’s United Nations Glasgow Climate Protection Conference attacked the issue from the climate perspective, declaring the need to shift very quickly to sustainably generated electric power for every energy use.
We each have an existential decision to make. First, we can fight inflation—and petroleum industry price gouging—by using the available tax credits and incentives to shift to electric cars, install solar panels, buy only sustainably generated electricity from aggregators, install battery walls in our homes and become independent from the petroleum industry.
That process is affordable for even modest income folks with the federal, state and local incentives, and our longer term operating and maintenance costs will be dramatically reduced. When compared to the cost of the alternative, we’ll be driving free after a few years of cost savings when supported by a home solar system… and we’ll also help to keep our planetary home clean.
Or, second, we continue to pay the petroleum industry’s exorbitant prices that contribute to the disastrous inflationary trends and allow climate change’s most destructive impacts to become permanent for our children and theirs.
Which is it? Drive inexpensively or free with sustainably generated electric energy in a new, state-of-the-art electric vehicle? Or continue to be the dupes of the oil industry and pay the inflated cost of oil and gas and the continuing cost of maintaining an internal combustion engine while destroying Mother Nature’s beautiful blue planet?
The ethical imperative is that in the not-too-distant future—possibly less than 10 years according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres—climate change will be much further advanced, at or near the point of no return. The economic disruptions, famines, mass migrations, droughts, forest fires, flooding, epidemics and other disasters foretold by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be upon us.
Your children will ask you what you did to avoid the terrible impacts of climate change when we still had time. Will you point to the smoking tailpipe of your gas-guzzler and tell them that was the best you could do? Or will you be proud of your electric vehicle, home solar system and battery wall, and the reduced pollution and cost savings over the years… then look them in the eye and honestly tell them you did all you could personally do to protect a sustainable future for them.
That decision must be made now, because honest science tells us that just thinking about it for another 10 years could be too late. What’s your decision?
Rod Diridon, Sr. is past chair of the American Public Transportation Association, past chair of the National Research Council’s Transit Cooperative Research Committee and chair emeritus of the national Council of University Transportation Centers.