Please Take a Math Class

Americans say ‘no’ to electrics despite high gas prices

Nearly six of 10 Americans — 57% — say they won’t buy an all-electric car no matter the price of gas, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

That’s a stiff headwind just as automakers are developing electrics to help meet tighter federal rules that could require their fleets to average as high as 62 miles per gallon in 2025. And President Obama has set a goal of a million electric vehicles in use in the U.S. by 2015.

I’m assuming that journalism school covered metaphorical statements and the author used “stiff headwind” as he meant to.

That statistic presumably means ~40% are open to the idea. The US adult population is more than 200 million people, so in what world is a group of 80 million potential electric car drivers less than the 1 million needed to reach that goal, thus representing that stiff headwind?

Way down at the end, it is noted that

Nissan interprets the poll numbers as a good sign, pointing out that “as many as 40% are considering driving electric vehicles.”

While math is the obvious problem here, I don’t think it’s the larger issue, which is that of spin. The author/headline writer wanted to cast the story in a negative light and so they leveraged the existence of a slim-margin majority to make a statement. People resisting change really isn’t news. I wonder if they had done a poll around 1900 about the enthusiasm for driving an automobile, what kind of results they would have gotten.

5 thoughts on “Please Take a Math Class

  1. 57% say they won’t buy a horseless carriage no matter the price of hay!

  2. An electric car is a terrible idea if you live in deep winter or brutal summer – the batteries will rapidly degrade. Expect at least 10% capacity loss/year SOP, then accelerated by deep discharge, sizzle recharge, and overcharging. A vehicle that moves slowly with frequent stops is the best candidate – a taxicab, bus, or delivery van.

    Whatever happened to Enviro-whiner hysteria about nanotesla emissions from computer monitors? Take a cheap compass into any electric subway,

    WOW! Now snuggle a cheap compass into 200 ampere flows in your electric car, or your own body.

  3. It takes more energy to make them than they will save.

    Your justification, swansont?

  4. Why are electric cars so much worse than regular car batteries? Having lived in New England and known electric car users there, I think a 10% loss/year estimate is way too high.

    My main reservation about going electric is that I live out i the sticks and charging stations, like gas stations, are few and far between. I’d love a plug in hybrid since electric power is cheap out here, but it’s hard enough buying gasoline in some areas, so it will be a while before we have proper charging infrastructure.

    Speaking of infrastructure. Automobiles and trucks were lower cost per mile than horses for a long time before they were practical. Practical meant paved roads. The bicyclists had been pushing for them since the 1890s, but the big roll out was in the early 20th century, ending in 1971 when the interstates were completed. With paved roads, typical truck operating costs were 40% of horse and cart costs, but that doesn’t factor in the cost of paving the roads.

    Of course, nowadays, it’s like the early 19th century when the South did what it could to keep back the railroads. We couldn’t pave the roads if we tried in our current political climate.

  5. I think infrastructure will go hand-in-hand with adoption, just like with paved roads and gas stations in the adoption of the auto.

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