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Denmark to ban petrol and diesel car sales by 2030 (euractiv.com)
592 points by afishisafish on Oct 3, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 392 comments

At the start, I thought these announcements and laws (eg Scotland) to ban ICE vehicles by 20XX were cheap politics. A promise Someone Else will deliver later, with credit due to you now.

I've come around though. I think all the bastardized carbon accounting, market based solutions are on average quite bad. The idea of a neutral, "market decides" policy is a myth. These things are complex, and that compmexity is an opportunity for regulatory capture.

For example, most European vehicle tax codes have been altered to reflect emissions.

The upshot is that (1) new vehicles are 20% ish more efficient (2) older vehicles become uneconomical faster (3) people who drive older vehicles clear pay more tax. (4) Switching from a 10yr old ICE hatchback to a new one can easily save you $500 pa. Going from a new "efficient" ICE to an electric will save you a fraction of that.

New car buyers pay less tax, old cars pay more. Vehicles hit junkyards faster. Manufacturers sell more cars. Over a decade we'll see a minor (maybe 20% at best) decrease in carbon emissions.

Very little environmental juice for a lot of poor and middle class squeeze. A nice little sales boost for VW.

There's a lot to be said for the simplicity of an outright ban. Ban ICEs. Ban commercial fishing. It worked for CFCs and market hunting. In retrospect, no one wishes we had split hairs with a complicated policy.

> I've come around though. I think all the bastardized carbon accounting, market based solutions are on average quite bad.

Carbon taxing works well when it's applied - but it's very hard to create the political consensus to impose it. For example, the high cost of fuel in Europe has driven cars to an average MPG equivalent of 45 versus the average of 33 in US. That's nothing to sneeze at, it's 40% more for a given amount of CO2 - and that's after the continous fuel efficiency improvements happening on both sides in recent decades: https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/files/2012/0...

However, the EU fuel taxes are not actually carbon taxes, they are road taxes. Imposing the same tax on industry and power generation, as pure carbon taxes, would have immense political blow back.

So I really wonder how do you think "ban all non-renewable electric stations and cement factories" would work if we can't even accept a 3-10% price increase on these products?

The comparison in the graph you linked isn't particularly useful.

The US, having cheap gasoline, uses gasoline vehicles in far more roles than say, the EU does, where diesel is far more common. "Light commercial" might as well read "should have been diesel" from an MPG standpoint.

That's the point of carbon taxes, isn't it? It's irrelevant what and how people drive, and they certainly don't give a buck about carbon emissions, yet they unwittingly alter their behavior with the effect of reducing the taxed behavior.

By the way, diesel is now typically more expensive than gasoline in Europe too, and the tax embodied in the price is roughly proportional to the carbon content of both. In the past there used to be a lower tax on diesel in some countries as an aid to farmers and the transport industry, but it is less common now.

> By the way, diesel is now typically more expensive than gasoline in Europe too

Really? Which countries? Not in the european countries I'm familiar with.

Better to have the pollution we know, rather than the unknown pollution from the avreage diesel engine. American buses are 10x cleaner.

I think the issue with carbon taxes is a 10-20% reduction isn't enough. A 75% reduction is needed. Which means some sectors the reduction will have to be more than that.

At that point bans make more sense.

Exactly what I meant. The whole vehicle tax, externality-pricing approach does not make sense if you walk away from the chalkboard and look at the big picture.

Also, not every 20% is the same. 20% reductions in emmisions because 20% of the fleet is electric-from-solar is a lot closer to 100% than 20% because of lighter cars and more efficient ICEs.

Needed for what? Optimal range for plants growth is 1000-1500ppm.

Don't forget US Gallons are smaller than "proper" imperial ones

OP is using US gallons, though.

Are you sure? There are cars that are that efficient, but as an average? In real life?

The average European car is very different from the average US car. The most sold cars in the US are the Ford F series, in the EU it's the VW Golf and similar hatchbacks.

There are a lot of forces at play here, among others tax rates (which cause the F150 to get bigger and European cars to get lighter), fuel prices, culture (in Europe a big truck won't impress anyone, you get other types of cars for that), average and maximum distance traveled (in Europe nobody fantasizes about roadtrips), road conditions (high population density makes offroad driving less important in rural Europe than in rural America), etc

You didn't mention parking. In many European cities I've visited, you'd barely be able to park a larger American car almost anywhere. Last trip over there, I rented an MPV which effectively fit a family with seats for two children, plus luggage, in what was barely bigger than an Australian hatchback. And even that was nerve-wracking to drive in some underground carparks, or park in old-town streets.

in Europe nobody fantasizes about roadtrips

That's an interesting tidbit. I always thought that they did. I thought the automotive term "GT" meant "Grand Tour" and was European in inspiration.

That's what I get for culling most of my European auto culture information from Top Gear.

>in Europe nobody fantasizes about roadtrips

Even besides the German brands (VW, Mercedes, BMW), there are a huge number of European car manufacturers (Skoda, Peugeot, citroen) > showing ability and demand for cars in Europe. Also, the small size and mostly flat nature of Europe, cultural diversity, and longer vacation time all contribute to Europeans traveling more than Americans. Not to mention excellent roads, family/student hostels for less expensive trips (pre-Airbnb era) and obviously Visa free travel. So yes Europeans might not have the same idea of long distance road trips we have in the US but that is not to say they don't take the same trips or more than in the US

In the US it’s a pretty normal thing to drive coast to coast, that’s equivalent distance to driving London to Moscow, and that is a very rare thing to do. Actually the equivalent in Europe is young people doing interrail trips (a month long unlimited rail ticket). People I think mostly drive to do a specific trip, like maybe going skiing or even just going across the border to shop. But there isn’t the same prevalence of the road trip, it is strange thing in a way, but it is true. There is a particular romance that people are attracted to in different places. Funnily enough, if a European young person is going to take a road trip they’re probably just as likely to fly to the US and do it there.

Europe nobody fantasizes about roadtrips

So how do you explain the countless German and Dutch cars driving around forests of Norway and Sweden every summer?

Because Finland is sparsely populated (and long) for an EU country, road trips are a thing here, especially for a winter holiday to Lapland. We even have a company advertise car ferries to Germany, so some must fantasize about a road trip!

Even then, there are no American size cars. Most sold cars are European or Japanese station wagons.

That's kind of a bad comparison because the Ford F-Series (or any other pickup platform) is many different vehicles under one name.

basically in europe there are not a lot of pickups to none out there. in europe there is a trend for SUVs at the moment, but besides that we mostly buy limousines.

This is a "limousine" in the US:


So I assume you were using the "sedan" interpretation.

There are plenty of pickups in Europe. It's just that they're based on vans, with a tray on the back instead of a box. And very few people are silly enough to buy one as their personal vehicle.

If we need to move mulch or the like, we rent/buy trailers.

Indeed but it's funny that most SUVs are (what I'd call) fake SUVs. They look beefy and big but they have a 1.6 liter engine and can still only pull 1200-1400 kg (like the Hyundai ix35). And then there are the real ones that may at first glance look the same but easily pull up to or over 2400 kg (Volvo xc90 versions).

>and big but they have a 1.6 liter engine and can still only pull 1200-1400 kg

This is a reflection of the vehicle platforms they're built on. You take a Civic or a Dart slap on AWD, a lift kit and extra 500-1000lb of body/interior and call it a CRV or a Cherokee and there's not much spare capacity left to haul cargo or tow trailers.

Mostly they don't even slap on AWD :)

I'm sure that they were using US gallons. Whether this is data is accurate is another matter.

According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Europe averaged 46 MPG (US gallons, "normalized to CAFE test cycles") in 2015 [1], compared to something like 37 MPG in the US.

This NY Times article [2] summarizes the report, with some nice graphs.

[1] https://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/201...

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/03/climate/us-fu...

I share your parent's skepticism. It seems obvious that cars sold in the US are not averaging 37 MPG when the average car is roughly a RAV4 that gets 22/29.(EDIT: It occurs to me that the RAV4 may be classified as a light truck -- even so, I can go pick a passenger car...)

As far as I can tell taking a quick look at your links, the difference can be in two things. First, these are fuel economy standards companies are expected to hit, and not reporting on whether they hit them or missed and paid penalties. Second there's the phrase "Assumes manufacturers fully use low-GWP A/C refrigerants credits". Apparently fuel economy numbers are boosted by these credits--actual fuel economy isn't the same thing, it appears?

(EDIT: Overall fuel economy for cars and trucks combined was 24.8 mpg in MY2015 [1])

[1] https://phys.org/news/2016-11-average-fuel-economy-high-mpg....

Additional notes:

The top 4 best-selling passenger cars are the Honda Accord and Civic, and the Toyota Camry and Corolla [1].

Their "combined city/highway" fuel efficiences are respectively 30, 34, 27, and 32 mpg for the base engine [2][3][4][5].

How can this possibly work out to 37 mpg overall? There aren't enough hybrid sales to bring that number up.

[1] http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2018/08/july-2018-ytd-u-s-passe... [2] https://www.edmunds.com/honda/accord/2017/features-specs/ [3] https://www.edmunds.com/honda/civic/2017/features-specs/ [4] https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/camry/2017/features-specs/ [5] https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/2017/features-specs/

Thanks for finding some stats. Based on the cars I see driving in the UK, I'm sure plenty of people buy cars that claim to do 55mpg, and many of those cars will actually do 55mpg. But as an average? - I'm just a bit unconvinced.

(Perhaps the mpgs were added up and divided by N? That doesn't always provide the answer you're looking for.)

If you compare US cars to EU cars on average then: - EU cars are much smaller - hp of engines is much lower

> "skepticism" "It seems obvious"

Pick one please.

I wasn't saying anything about EU cars -- why are you bringing that up?

I am skeptical of the 37mpg claim because it seems clear to me that the average car sold in the US isn't that efficient. What's the contradiction?

Sorry, I missed that part.

I think 37mpg depends on what you actually count as a car and what goes for a light truck.

See my comment in a parallel branch for data: even the US best-selling passenger cars don’t average 37 mpg.

Europe and Japan both use smaller engine sizes, increasing fuel economy pretty drastically compared to North America. Especially when your average speed might be 80 km/hr, rather than 80 miles an hour. I don't know if their different testing regimes reflect that (maybe).

Anecdote: several years ago, I got the lightest, smallest-engined, most-efficient car I could find here in Canada, a Toyota Yaris. And using a calculator to convert units, I see that even so, it only gets me ~40 US MPG (real world) - most because of highway speeds. When I drive mostly 80km/hr, it's about 42 US MPG. When I drive mostly 120 km/hr, it's more like 36 US MPG. The same car is sold in Japan/EU with a 1.2 litre engine, vs the 1.5 litre in North America. Similar things happen with many other models.

A Toyota Camry Hybrid will get better MPG with a 2.5 liter engine, and give more space for passengers and cargo, than the Yaris. Also it has EV-like torque.

My relatives drive a Camry Hybrid, and I've used it a fair bit. It certainly does have better torque, and slightly better real world mileage (5.5 litre/100km for the Camry, vs my Yaris at 6.0 litre/100km). It also drives more comfortably on the highway. It's less affected by wind/passenger weight, though downshifting to 4th has never been an issue for me.

However, as a sedan, I strongly dispute the "more space for passengers and cargo". The trunk is larger in the camry, but has severe limits that the Yaris, a hatchback, does not. Carrying a mini fridge, for example, is out of the question in a Camry, but easy in a Yaris (as long as you only have 1 or 2 passengers). Also, the camry has better rear-seat leg room, but much less height, such that my head (185cm) touches the roof in the back seats. Finally, the Yaris has better clearance for rough roads, and much better turning radius and visibility for city driving. (Oh, and my cost after 150000km, including purchase, fuel, and oil changes, is just approaching the purchase price of a Camry Hybrid)

I wish the Yaris Hybrid, available in Japan, was available in North America.

Last weekend, I took an assembled office chair to my parents in the back seat of my Camry Hybrid. If you put the fridge in the back seat, it would probably fit.

And I used to haul my 46" HDTV in my 99 Sentra, pretty sure it will fit in Camry too.

Camry is big for city driving. Moving to Seattle again reminds me how much better a Yaris can parallel park than my 'boat'.

I'm consistently driving 1100 miles a month on 28 gallons. This may change after the upcoming move, since walking will replace driving as primary transportation.

Definitely tradeoffs with any model of car. I'm hopeful that when I'm ready to get a new car (in another 5 years or so...) that the electric car landscape has changed enough that there's something that ticks more boxes for me. A hatchback really fits best with how I use a car (an SUV would provide most of the same, but be much less fun in the city)

Unfortunately, production of cars (and consumerism in general) is extremely bad for carbon emissions and for the environment. Carbon emissions from the production of 1 car generally rival the lifetime emissions from the tailpipe [1]. If you have no choice but to replace an old car for new then sure, get a more efficient one. If you're replacing cars every 3 years like an average westerner, given the age of cars I see on the road, you are doing extreme harm. Old cars that are running should be incentivized to continue to be on the road, barring any other pollutant or smog issues.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/20...

Consumerism is bad for the planet, 100% true. However the "every 3 years like an average westerner" remark needs citation. In the context of the article (Denmark) it is certainly not true. Cars are so expensive (the 180% tax is absolutely real - I've paid it) that people hold on to cars longer and buy used more. In fact, the number of people with zero cars would be hard to believe if you come from California.

Alas, the politics are made by city people (who have access to really good public transport) and paid for by people in suburbia who _have_ to own a car to survive (and no, we can't just move everyone to the city).

EDIT: typos

> that people hold on to cars longer and buy used more

And yet the average age of the car in Denmark is 8.9 years [1]. For comparison Germany is at 9.3 year, and US is at 11.6 years [2]

[1] http://www.aut.fi/en/statistics/international_statistics/ave... [2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/261881/average-age-of-li...

The two sources is different, so it might be good to be wary about comparing them. Could be right though.

But anyway, these average ages may be due to little used old cars being taken out of registry, to avoid annual fixed taxes? This has not much impact on the average age of cars used in daily traffic.

FWIW, I'm from Finland, also with a history of high car purchase taxes, and the average in above data is almost 12 years. The oldest cars, however, have lower annual car tax (they had the highest tax at purchase time).

BTW I understand Denmark was about to lower the car purchase tax from 180 % to 100 % or so?

It is the same source for Denmark and Germany. Since US is not a part of EU, so I had to come with a different source.

As for your other argument - both reports count "vehicles in use" (ACEA) or "vehicles in operation" (US)

Denmark and Germany are in EU, but that does not mean that statistics are made in the same way.

Also, the "vehicle in use" is not necessarily such a clear definition.

For instance, several of my colleagues own historical vehicles from 1960's and 1970's which are "museum registered", which here means that they must be at least 30 years old, can be used only on 30 days each year, and they are not subject to annual "MOT check" (but a different kind of check every 2-4 years).

Are they included in the "vehicle in use" statistic? I don't know. And I don't know what are the specific regulations for similar vehicles in other countries. Because the cars are 40-50 years old, even a not very big number of them would skew the statistics of average age of cars.

The max rate was lowered from 180 to 150 about 2-3 years ago.

No, I think they did lower it to 180% last year..

85% below and 150% above the cutover, since ~2015 I believe.

It surprises me and doesn’t match my observations, but there at least one element to take into account: weather. There’s a reason the California car is treasured. Snow and the salt used to fight it is really corrosive to cars in Denmark.

BTW, this has changed with many brands about 15 years ago. Cars made until that tend to disappear from traffic due to corrosion. In around 2000, it became common to galvanize the steel bodies of cars.

Renault actually advertised this at the time: "will rust like a fish", with a picture of a car immersed in water. Seems to be legitimate: corrosion problems have become much more rare.

>"(the 180% tax is absolutely real - I've paid it)"

This statement requires a bit more detail. It wasn't a flat tax rate, it was graduated, so below a certain price, there was a lower rate (105% IIRC), to incentivize smaller cheaper cars, and as a luxury tax on expensive vehicles.

As it is now, the rate is 85% below ~190K DKK and 150% of the value above that. The cutover has been steadily going up over a couple of years now.

So no, it has not ever been a flat 180%, as some people like to claim. It's still high, but there are tons of cars out there that don't hit the tax cutover point, even family cars.

Edit: And the rates are lower for motorcycles, hybrid cars and such.

> (the car tax is) paid for by people in suburbia who _have_ to own a car to survive.

I have been wondering for a little while now if the extreme libertarian position on private roads has been vindicated. I am not sure yet, but it seems possible where once it was ridiculous.

Starting with (let us say) World war two, cities and states built out substantial, publicly funded roads and road networks in order to connect up newly developed sub-urban centres that were designed for car owners. These new centres were affordable for the emerging middle classes, who migrated there en-masse. This co-incided with the baby-boom, which was partly possible due to cheap housing.

But this left the inner cities to die slow deaths where immigration was not high. (Side note: This is more true of American towns, in Australia I don't know that we had the dramatic changes seen in the highly industrialised centres of the USA.) So it possibly boosted the middle class at the expense of the lower class (?) and it created huge urban sprawl.

Would private roads, paid for collectively by the developers or residents of those suburbs, have helped to alleviate or reduce the problems outlined above?

I am spitballing here, and it is a little off-topic, but please indulge me!

Japan has a majority- privatized highway network, funding it requires tolls way higher than would be politically feasible in any western country. Gas and tolls make taking the bullet train cheaper for some distances if you're alone (the equation changes if you load up your family).

I live here and have to pay the tolls but I still prefer it from a "user pays" justice POV.

It doesn't have to be privatized though - Singapore is introducing a GPS-distance-based congestion charge on their roads ("ERP 2" if you want to Google it)

As a recent example, the cost to travel by train into Tokyo from Narita cost me about ¥800, but the tolls from driving cost about ¥2000. So, if you travel with 3+ people in a car, it's cheaper to drive, provided you already own a car.

Starting with (let us say) World war two, cities and states built out substantial, publicly funded roads and road networks in order to connect up newly developed sub-urban centres that were designed for car owners

In the United States, it was somewhat more complex than that. The highway network was and is primarily part of the nation's military defense infrastructure, so that weapons and personnel can be moved around in a time of crisis. (Something from Germany that impressed the U.S. during WWII.)

This is why the system is named after a general who was also a president ("The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System").

It's also the reason why the rails are not usually removed from abandoned railroads anymore: So they can be rehabbed in an emergency.

There's also a lot of social studies involved, including the baby boom.

Like all large human endeavors, it's messy.

[Edit to add:]

Would private roads, paid for collectively by the developers or residents of those suburbs, have helped to alleviate or reduce the problems outlined above?

One of the many contributing factors to the U.S. Civil War was the notion that the North wanted to shed its remaining privatized roads and federalize the whole thing, while the South wanted entirely private road systems.

> In the United States, it was somewhat more complex than that. The highway network was and is primarily part of the nation's military defense infrastructure

You are right. I am not contesting the Highway system, which actually still seems to be a good case for Federal public spending, both because it benefits the military and because it is inter-state.

My point is entirely regarding the roads that were built out from the dense urban cores to connect with sub-urbs, and the roads built to connect sub-urbs with one another, and those inside of suburbs too. If these were paid for by those who used them (and not inner-city dwellers) then perhaps urban sprawl would not have happened, and we would have saved ourselves from a whole host of externalities we are only discovering now.

If these were paid for by those who used them

Well, they are. That's the 9/10th of a cent that drivers pay on each gallon of gas they purchase.

IMO, it should be closer to an even five cents, with half of it going to mass transit. But then I also drank milk and Pepsi mixed together when I was a kid, so I'm not exactly reliable.

If you're speaking about the federal gas tax which goes to the Highway Trust Fund[1], it's currently $0.184 per gallon of petrol and $0.244 per gallon of diesel.

There are also state gasoline taxes, vehicle weight fees (for commercial interstate trucks) registration fees, and tolls[2].

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_Trust_Fund 2. https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/07/us-transporta...

Does that cover the cost of the roads? Finnish fuel tax is 68 euro cents per litre (2,57€/2,95$ per gallon) and 2/3 of that covers the road maintenance. That is 328 times the amount of your fuel tax.

A lot of roads were build by private developers at the time of original suburban expansion, where later they get handed off to the city to maintain going forward.

All the Life cycle analysis I've seen (don't have the sources handy) have shown that the vast majority of an ICE's car's impact is from the fuel that is burned and not from production, usually around 80% driving and less than 20% production.

If you look at page 29 of this LCA by Audi, you can see that they show an ICE car's impact at about 20% manufacturing, 80% usage, and around 1% recycling at the end of life:


When the factories and steel production run on green power that 20% will drop very low.

The problem is that the fossil fuel lobby has been exceptionally successful in putting the transition back by 30 years. Had they expended the same energy pivoting to green power then we'd be having a totally different discussion now.

Mmmhh, Audi is Volkswagen (and Audi's cars were involved as well in the emissions scandal), so I'm kind of sceptic about their credibility (meaning "let's not forget too quickly").

As they have as well a direct interest in saying "buying new/our cars isn't that harmful as you think", their doc makes me even more sceptic... :)

There are many other LCA studies, go find them. They all say similar things, and it makes sense when you think about how many gallons of gasoline or diesel a car can burn over its useful life (15-20 years).

Yep, I can agree with that :)

> If you're replacing cars every 3 years like an average westerner, given the age of cars I see on the road, you are doing extreme harm.

Those 3 year old cars aren't just scrapped, the used car market is much larger than the new car market.

That would be fine except that cars release poison into the air, old cars especially. Eventually banning ICE cars is an essential public health measure.

That's a shame because there are some remarkable cars, both modern and classic, that will no longer be able to drive on the roads if we ban all ICE.

It would be the equivalent of banning steam engines, which although no longer in normal use, are still running as tourist attractions and remarkable pieces of engineering that are fantastic to see and experience.

No real need to ban old cars, they tend to quickly phase out on their own. Heck, the state I live in has uninstalled all the expensive dyno equipment they used for pre-OBD2 cars because there just aren't enough left on the road to justify maintaining the test. They still sniff, because that's cheap, but not on a dyno.

Given that we still allow horses and Model T's on the roads (aside from freeways, due to inability of century-old cars to maintain that speed), I can't imagine why we'd bother banning them. The nostalgia is nice and their impact is negligible.

I think this policy would ban new sales, not outright ban all old cars.

Both policies exist actually. For instance old cars and motorcycles are getting banned in Paris (outside of weekends IIRC). Even if as the grandparent points out making a new car generates a lot of pollution at least it would reduce the more local problem of having a heavy smog on windless days (and all the health issues that go along with it).

Banning old cars from inner-city driving is a nessesity. With how densly cities pack both cars and buildings, suspended particulate matter is a serious public health risk. But we can still allow them everywhere else where we aren't already struggling with keeping particluate levels at a reasonably safe level.

Ya I'm visiting my mum in a rural area and I went for a jog today and I couldn't believe how bad the exhausts were that drove past me. I don't think they'd pass the emissions test in the city I'm from.

The irony is that the state that loves to pat itself on its back for being so environmentally conscious is also that last state where you could buy leaded gas in the U.S.

California: 1992.

>If you're replacing cars every 3 years like an average westerner, given the age of cars I see on the road, you are doing extreme harm.

Do you have any sources for this claim? I think I only know of a single person who changes cars in 3 years due to leases and only did it once.

According to the US government the average age is 11, almost 12 years.[1]


This is why I consider my 1990 Volvo a comparatively environmentally friendly car. Very reliable and much cheaper to maintain and repair than a new electronics laden alternative.

However, it's not great for local air quality.

If you live in the countryside and rarely visit towns, it's a reasonable choice. If you regularly drive slowly through a city, it's awful!

My 1995 Volvo 940 Wagon (Estate for you EU?) is probably the best car I've ever purchased. It's comfortable, reliable, easy to work on and doesn't drink that much gasoline. I've had new cars, old cars, fast cars, slow cars, and the Volvo is seriously my favorite. Purchased for $800 a year ago and immediately drove across the USA with it. Only issue was a short in the tail lights. :) Maybe I shouldn't be sharing this information.. I don't need them to become expensive!

But you do. An increase in price means your car's resale value will go up.

Ironically, a big reason people buy new cars is because their old one failed emissions screening, and wasn't economical to repair.

I always wonder at this. I've seen those expensive repair bills and they're usually expensive relative to the value of the car to be repaired, but they're cheap relative to the cost of a brand new car.

You can get a loan for a new car, you can't get a loan for repairs. If you manage money well this is rarely a problem, but if you don't then you have no savings to pay for the repairs. The other problem with repair is what else is wrong and what will that cost to repair.

I've been told that there are people who trade their cars in when the tires are worn out - it kicks the payments down the road a month (they have to budget next month lower than this month, but it doesn't use cash they don't have) Remember, nearly anyone can get a car loan no matter how bad their credit is. Even a credit card has higher standards. Since we are talking about people who are bad with money it is at least believable.

My experience has been exactly the opposite. Everyone I know who trades out cars every year or so does it because they want the latest and greatest, or just something new and different, not because they can't afford to repair it. The people I know who have more limited means tend to drive their cars until the wheels fall off, and they are pretty familiar with their mechanic. I'm a little too impatient for that myself, I have a fairly low threshold of 'how many is too many repairs' before I dump a car and get something with less hassle.

Just went through this calculating a few months ago.

Had a 14 year old car... 225k miles on it... a couple years ago had put in $1k or so, but the last 18 month had put in less than $500 in repairs (tires, oil changes, some other issues).

However, there was an oil leak, and some damage to front-end suspension. Oil leak had been going on for a while, but getting worse. Finding it would have meant taking the engine apart, and the front-end stuff was also expensive. Even without the engine leak, I was looking at probably $1500 to get this to pass inspection this year, and... there's no guarantee that all the fixes wouldn't have left me with something with a broken transmission that needed an overhaul or replacement. Fixing it all would probably have been north of $3k to feel good that it would be road worthy for at least another few years.

As much as a I hate change, I bit the bullet, and got a 'newer' car for $11k. 'used' but still relatively new (2016) and it's far more fuel efficient - getting around 40mpg vs the 25 I was getting before. The fuel efficiency won't totally make up for the entire diff in fixing vs replacing, but I have something that's more modern, more comfortable, gets better mileage and better safety features. The 'brand new car' comparison - yeah, but loads of people are fine getting a 'lightly used' car vs 'brand new'.

A friend went through similar decision within 10 days of my process, and he ended up getting a lightly used car (2017?) but it was $21k - I just can't bring myself to pay that type of money for a car right now. I was looking sub $10k; my wife pushed me to go a little higher.

Which is why the "Cash for Clunkers" program was a giant environmental disaster. There's no way the fuel efficiency gains made up for the fuel burned manufacturing the car.

I think the motivation was reducing pollution. A small minority of badly running cars emit most of the particulate and nitrogen oxide pollution. In certain areas like Los Angeles in the 1980s, smog (caused by nitrogen oxides) was killing people, and removing a few clunkers made a significant difference.

I recall the motivation was improving fuel efficiency.

"intended to provide economic incentives to U.S. residents to purchase a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle when trading in a less fuel-efficient vehicle."


I think part of the motivation was preventing open rebellion by a hurting voter base. Those were bad years.

I think all the bastardized carbon accounting, market based solutions are on average quite bad.

I'm curious, do you think the whole idea of a market-based solution is bad, or do you just think that actual real-world implementations have been lacking so far?

I mean, it seems to me that if you tax emissions strongly and uniformly enough, then at some point it has to have an impact. I think existing schemes have just been pretty weak.

I agree that carbon taxes can potentially hit poor and middle class folks unfairly hard, but this can easily be solved via carbon dividend type schemes.

> it seems to me that if you tax emissions strongly and uniformly enough, then at some point it has to have an impact.

One way to look at that is that you're saying any market-based solution strong enough to be effective is indistinguishable from an outright ban.

We could, for example, discourage smoking by putting a $500 tax on each pack of cigarettes. But at that point, you may as well stop pretending and ban it outright.

Another way to look at it is that bans are fair because they apply to all people equally. Taxes unfairly punish the poor who have less discretionary income. (A $100 tax on cigarettes would drive most of the working and middle classes to quit, but there are certainly a number of rich folks who would keep on lighting up because $100 means little to them.)

> One way to look at that is that you're saying any market-based solution strong enough to be effective is indistinguishable from an outright ban.

I'm not sure I agree. I could easily imagine a range of carbon taxes applied to vehicles where most, but not all, users would switch to electric. There could easily be people who like taking long trips far from major roads and are willing to pay a large premium to do so.

> Another way to look at it is that bans are fair because they apply to all people equally. Taxes unfairly punish the poor who have less discretionary income. (A $100 tax on cigarettes would drive most of the working and middle classes to quit, but there are certainly a number of rich folks who would keep on lighting up because $100 means little to them.)

That's a fair point, but I'm not sure your example is all that compelling. If a small number of rich people are willing to pay $100 in extra taxes to smoke a cigarette, is that really so bad?

The advantage of a ban is that you can also eliminate production and importation. If you have a legal path, that path will be diverted into the black market.

Black market cigarettes, sure. But black market cars? Cars are already individually registered and tracked by the states. You can’t just magic up an illegally imported car and get away with driving it for very long.

> If a small number of rich people are willing to pay $100 in extra taxes to smoke a cigarette, is that really so bad?

What is the rational to "letting" the rich smoke (replace with activity "X" if desired), but not everyone else?

For the most part, that is what the policy effectively ends up doing, and so enacting it becomes to an implicit approval of that result.

It's obviously not the only way of looking at the situation, but I think it has some merit. Interesting to think about, at least.

Smoking a cigarette harms society. Rich people can afford to compensate society for the harm they inflict, so that society comes out ahead.

But do they? Or does their platinum-level insurance pay for the new lungs, which really comes out of the working-persons' pocket?

> equally

Implies everyone is in the same situation. This is never true. For example, in WW2 we had gas rationing. You got a fixed amount of gas, regardless of how much driving you needed to do. The result was a black market in gas, where those who didn't need all their alotment sold it to those who did (at black market prices, of course, since this was illegal).

This is a good moral question. My impression is that some people today, especially here on HN, feel very uncomfortable taking any moral stance and instead have a worldview that says what is right is determined entirely by what the market produces. Basically capitalism is God.

I like capitalism, but I view it as a means to an end, not an end in itself. Instead of evaluating our moral against what capitalism produces, we should evaluate capitalism by how well it supports our morals.

From that perspective, yeah, I think it is kind of bad. If we are placing a high tax on cigarettes because our society has made a moral choice that cigarettes are bad and people who smoke are bad, then I think that moral choice should apply equally to all people regardless of wealth. My moral code states that power does not excuse sins.

On the other hand, if the tax is a pragmatic one to, say, help pay for universal healthcare and offset the higher medical costs incurred by smokers, then the tax is a reasonable approach.

In reality, the tax/law is probably a combination of the two goals, which is why I think a tax is kind of bad but kind of OK.

Regressive taxes are problematic, sure. But never mind any decision on moral grounds. Smoking, for example, has a high cost to society. We seek to reduce it to lower that cost.

You are missing one big advantage of market based solutions. They raise revenue.

For every dollar that is raised from taxing gasoline, is another dollar that can be used paying for social programs or whatever.

This can also be a strong dis-advantage because they incentivize abuse.

Look, for example, at civil seizure in the US. Police agencies are highly incentivized to do it since they get to keep the money, even when doing so is unjust.

In practice, tax-based solutions have pros and cons and you need to think about the incentives and unintended consequences that they lead to on both the enforcement and citizen sides. Law-based solutions do too, of course.

No it would massively increase smuggling / crime as Americas experiment with prohibition showed.

"I'm curious, do you think the whole idea of a market-based solution is bad, or do you just think that actual real-world implementations have been lacking so far?'

My theory is that the people push for market based solutions the most are usually the same people that are against regulations and taxes so whatever they come up with will usually be very weak. They certainly won't support taxation of carbon emissions to the degree that's necessary for real behavior.

I'm one of those people that push for market based solutions. I also support taxation to the degree that it is effective. So your theory is not supported by evidence.

I also support the idea of reducing other taxes in concert, so the tax is revenue neutral.

> I think existing schemes have just been pretty weak.

Most existing schemes seem to have been cleverly designed to avoid hitting certain industries with large enough lobbying power.

Taxing/banning/regulating specific polluters rather than pollution itself is just ripe for regulatory capture.

It sounds like he's arguing not that the policies have been lacking oomph, but that the policies could never really hope to handle all the nuance. If you could only set up the incentives right, you'd get the right outcome, but maybe that's a perilous & incredibly difficult task.

I don't think the whole idea is bad. Market based public housing schemes can be quite good, for example.

I do think that making stuff more market based to avoid "picking winners" is probably a bad idea. We know what the winner is here, more or less. The winner is non-ICE vehicles. We should be backing that, not 25% more efficient engines.

>There's a lot to be said for the simplicity of an outright ban. Ban ICEs. Ban commercial fishing. It worked for CFCs and market hunting. In retrospect, no one wishes we had split hairs with a complicated policy.

Bans are just as messy because what is and isn't subject to he ban results in just as much hair splitting as a complicated policy in the first place.

When we "ban" things there are almost always trade-offs. It makes sense to allow market hunting in some cases (wild hogs, whitetail deer in some areas). There's a case to be made for allowing the use of lead paint in some industrial applications.

> Switching from a 10yr old ICE hatchback to a new one can easily save you $500 pa. Going from a new "efficient" ICE to an electric will save you a fraction of that.

Not true. From personal experience driving an electric costs one fifth the cost of fuel per km. That's an enormous saving.

A Prius gets around 55 mpg, which with gas at 3.25/gal and electricity at 0.11/kWh means a Chevy Bolt, for example, costs just a little over half what the electric does, per mile. The electric also has a significantly higher capital cost and depreciation rate. I wouldn't be at all surprised if over, say, five years, the Prius has a cheaper TCO.

This is sensitive to local costs of both fuel and electricity. In my part of Washington state I last paid $3.43 per gallon of gasoline but residential electricity is about 6.5 cents per kWh.

It looks like in Denmark electricity prices were 0.30 EUR (0.35 USD) per kWh in the second half of 2017, while gasoline prices are currently 12.26 DKK per liter (7.15 USD per US gallon).

Definitely it varies by location. The US national average price for fuel right now is 2.90, and the average cost per kWh for electricity is 0.12. Makes the running cost for the ICE vs EV even closer than my original numbers.

I kinda leave the European prices out of the discussion because what they pay tends to be extremely distorted by local taxes.

Based on a quick bit of TCO research, best I can tell is that without subsidies, EVs tend to have a TCO significantly higher than an efficient ICE vehicle. The market is young, obviously, and lots of EVs are aimed at people willing to pay a premium. A Model S, for example, has a TCO over five years of nearly 70 grand (!!). But, a Chevy Spark EV has a TCO of more like 20 grand, which is really showing how cheap they were due to GM dumping them at a loss and the big tax credit. A Prius is around 30K or so, for comparison.

I want an electric, and will get one as soon as there is something in the right price range with the characteristics I'm interested in (sporty, decent looking, sufficient range, reliable, good ergonomics). The Model 3 isn't too bad but it's more than I want to spend on a first-run car, and I won't buy any car with a single touchscreen as the sole interface.

Sure, I was just adding some more data points about locales where the payback time for going electric is shorter (Washington) and longer (Denmark).

I don't buy new cars and I don't drive very much in the first place. It's not worth it for me to go electric at present, despite access to cheap electricity and relatively high gas prices here. I'm hopeful that by the time my 2007 Camry is at end-of-life there will be affordable, reliable used EVs.

>Vehicles hit junkyards faster

not really. They just migrate faster to Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

>There's a lot to be said for the simplicity of an outright ban. Ban ICEs.

Do this and a massive chunk of the population will die shortly after. There is no alternative to farm and transport food at the scale required for the modern population.

Banning CFCs isn't even comparable because all of modern civilization wasn't built on them like it has been with the portable energy enabled by ICE.

There is no viable electric-only solution for the freight rail network, the air freight network, or even the road freight network.

A side effect, intended or not, is that poorer people who can not afford new and more efficient cars end up paying more for the fuel and more for the tax.

In my country (New Zealand) the fuel tax goes into the infrastructure fund which keeps roads maintained. It also funds public transport.

We’re going go have to come up with creative solutions when most vehicles are electric.

In NZ Diesel vehicles have to pay a tax per km driven but it is not paid at the pump. You buy a sticker that says what odometer reading you have paid up to. Get a fine if odometer reads higher than sticker.

Same mechanism can work for electric cars

In fact electric cars did have to do that until a few years ago when the mileage tax was removed to encourage electric cars

Bans are economically inefficient because they allow for zero flexibility. There will always be cases where an ICE is more appropriate, and it's very costly to try to lobby for an exemption.

A carbon emissions tax is the right solution. Just keep raising it until one gets the effect wanted - a wholesale switch to electric.

People especially here constantly rail against Europe, specifically their start-up scene, against taxes, against regulations, etc. At the same time, our cities are unlivable, inaccessible, crowded, our infrastructure is falling apart, a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor causing increases in homelessness in cities and opiod addiction in rural areas. Western Europe isn't utopia, but in many areas, their policies are actually in the public interest and raise most people up[0].

[0] Perhaps not natives, but that's another story.

Our cities are "crowded" and "unlivable"?

If they're so unlivable then why do so many people want to live there that they're crowded? Especially when the country is full of suburbs...suburbs, where, in fact, most people live.

Our cities are way less dense than many European cities. In fact they are way less dense than they used to be in many cases.

> "People especially here constantly rail against Europe"

> "our cities"

Where is "here" and "our cities"?

People love to cherry pick a statistic from one European city, and ask why all of the American empire can't be like that.

/s/public transportation/health care/cars/etc.

Cherry picking isn't really needed, infrastructure and health care are a disaster here.

edit: For some perspective, there are 240,000 water main breaks every year in the US, wasting over 2 trillion gallons of treated drinking water.


These statistics are only possible in a nation that has over 240,000 water mains (or do some break more than once a year?)

A smaller nation can choose a solution that works better at smaller scales, but doesn't scare well - because they don't need it to scale much. A larger empire has fewer options.

Europe has far more people than the US, I don't know what you're on about.

Most likely US

>a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor causing increases in homelessness in cities

For starters, I'd be curious to see a source on whether or not the United States even has a significantly increasing number of homeless per-capita.

Secondly, even if that is the case, the causal relationship between the wealth gap and homelessness would be speculative at best.

Let's see what happens when you hit rock bottom in The Netherlands, so zero wealth and zero income. I'm assuming you're about 30, single, and have no kids.

First, there is social housing available at a price between €335 and €710. True, you may have to wait a little for a house, but if it's a critical situation you will get priority. As you have no income, you will also get rent subsidies. After those, you'll pay roughly €250 / month for rent.

Second, healthcare. Health insurance is mandatory and covers practically everything, so you'll still have this. No need to worry about healthcare costs. You still have to pay for it. With a €385 / year copay, it costs you €94 / month. With a €885 copay, it'll cost you €75 / month. As you have no income, the government will subsidize your healthcare for €94 / month. Net cost: between €0 and €-20 / month. Yes, you can actually profit on healthcare.

Third, welfare. About €930 / month.

Let's look at some basic needs: heating is about €75, electricity is €28, water is €10, a 50/5 internet connection is €25, a basic 100 minutes, 100 sms, 1 GB internet mobile phone connection is about €7. There are some municipal taxes, but you don't have to pay any of them because you have no income.

This leaves you with about €535 a month for food, clothing, and all your other stuff. Note that I intentionally did not mention any car costs: you don't need it for grocery shopping, and you don't need it for a job, so any use is only incidental. If you even want to keep it, the main cost would be insurance, and that starts at €20 / month.

So let's look at the original question: is there a causal relationship between the wealth gap and homelessness? I'd say there is, because when rich people pay slightly higher taxes, literally nobody has to be homeless because the government will pay for their safety net. So how many people depend on this? Roughly 6%. This means that, on average, every working person has to pay €75 / month in taxes for a guaranteed safety net, including housing and healthcare. If you consider the amount of taxes you pay, that's not such a bad deal.

> Perhaps not natives, but that's another story

At the risk of inviting some xenophobic and/or racist commentary, I'll bite. What's your story?

> our cities are unlivable

false by definition

While the promise sounds great, it's important to note that no law has actually been passed.

Also, incentives to increase sales of electric vehicles are yet to be announced.

Denmark's Scandinavian neighbour Norway is on the other side of the spectrum. Heavy subsidisation has caused every 2nd (!) car sold to be electric (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-norway-autos/...).

Isn't it ironic that most of welfare and subsidies actually come from the oil. Stuff like 25km of under sea tunnel leading to a town with sub 2k population is quite a common sight there.

While Norway is an amazing country in many aspects, the amount of oil owned by a state company puts it in a rather unique position.

> Stuff like 25km of under sea tunnel leading to a town with sub 2k population is quite a common sight there.

It's not really common. They only have one tunnel that's 24.5km ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tunnels_in_Norway ) and it's not under the sea. The remaining are 10km or shorter.

The longest undersea tunnel is 8.9km and it goes to a city with a population of 8,215. It goes to an entire island though, so a few more people than that benefit.

Your overall point is completely right, but might as well get the facts straight, so people can compare and don't recite wrong information.

Norway doesn't actually show up much on the list of longest tunnels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_tunnels

Aren't they building the Coastal Highway at a cost of $47B that will include a few tunnels and a few more bridges?

Is it ironic?

Creating a national investment fund from the oil bonus seems a far better choice than continuing as usual, or using it to pay for tax cuts (1980's UK).

When the oil runs out, or is considered too damaging to use any more, the infrastructure will still be there, and so will the fund.

This is a great article explaining how an Iraqi was largely the mind behind putting all the oil money in a state-owned fund as to avoid the damage that oil usually had done to any country that had discovered it.


Putting all oil money into state owned fund also kinda helps the people ruling the state :)

Fair point, but I have a lot of respect for how Norway manages it's oil money..

State wealthfare fund and research in various techniques to minimize pollution from oil production.

Incentives are to be anounced next week. If they follow the so called “climate panel” they will be horrible.. a Tesla will actually go up in price..

Tesla is already selling all the cars they can make. If the goal is a higher percentage of electric cars on the road, subsidizing them won't help. The more important thing is to incentivize other manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles.

To play devils advocate: electric cars are a niche, Sure Tesla can sell out. The niche is large enough - for more players, but ultimately electric cars will top out at a small fraction of the total vehicle market.

Of course this is predicting the future. Nobody does that well. In a few years we will have facts, but that doesn't say much about the future beyond that.

That's the future that governments are trying to avoid by subsidizing electric cars and/or restricting gasoline-powered cars.

There are some disadvantages of electric cars which may or may not be solvable.

>majewsky - Charge times, charging with higher voltage decreases the battery capacity. - Some cities may require major grid upgrades, peaks consumption may rise significantly - A lot of power still comes from coal which doesn't solve much as emissions go.

Overall it all revolves, around energy density, inability to store electricity efficiently, charge times and battery degradation (lots of them are not produced in very renewable manner)

Sure, some ICE may remain around for special uses, but I guess the vast majority of people will be fine w an electric car. (Especially in 2030)

By coincidence, I'll be picking up a brand new (ICE) vehicle from my dealer in just over 12 hours' time.

The electric version of the vehicle I'm buying costs just a shade over twice as much(!) as the ICE version.

I'm not fine paying more than twice as much for a product that in many respects is "less good".

2x cost for electric is not typical. The average cost premium is more like 10-15k (and the US government will allow you a $7,500 tax credit for the electric).

Of course the top-selling electric vehicles (Tesla and Leaf) don't have a direct ICE equivalent so it's tough to compare...

Converted to USD: I'll be paying $12.5k including taxes tomorrow for the new ICE vehicle, the electric version is priced at $26.5k

The salesman showed me the electric version. They are cool. For my usage pattern it would even be a good fit 90% of the time, lots of short trips from home.

The problem is that 10% of the time I'm on the road, and that's a bit of a deal-breaker.

The absolute killer is, of course, paying an additional $14k for a vehicle where the resale value will fall far more rapidly than the much cheaper ICE equivalent.

Good point, but how much of that is the manufacturer pre-compensating itself for all the extra maintenance that it won't sell you?

There's a healthy open market in servicing ICE vehicles.

I can take pretty much any kind of car to my local independent place - which happens to be less than 1/2 mile away - and they'll fix it for me. They'll stick to using original manufacturers parts unless I instruct them not to. If they think something ought to be covered by warranty and so ought to be looked at via the original manufacturer's servicing network, they'll decline the job and tell me why.

It's hard to imagine a system with less lock-in!

Unlike Tesla, the dealer performs the maintenance for other cars. Or maybe a 3rd party shop. Do they have a kickback agreement with the manufacturer?

How much does Tesla pre-compensate for the maintenance they won't authorize others to do?

Which is why governments that believe that the negative externalities of fossil fuels are worse than those disadvantages use legislation to tip the scales in the other direction.

Such as?

If you're saying "range", I counter that most trips (e.g. most commutes) are well within the range limits of current BEVs.

Such as commuting an hour to work, that may turn out to be two, in Toronto's gridlock, during a cold wave of -45c.

"Most trips" doesn't work, the EV proponents want a ban on all ICE cars. Which would force part of the population to buy a truck and commute with it.

> "Most trips" doesn't work, the EV proponents want a ban on all ICE cars.

Politics is all about compromise. You actually have to start out at an extreme position so that when you meet in the middle at the end, it's still somewhat reasonable.

There will be bans on ICE cars at some point, but with a lot of footnotes.

>Which would force part of the population to buy a truck and commute with it.

I think this is a symptom of a larger problem and despite the fact that people have this issue as of now should not strongly colour our perception of what's possible.

If you're commuting more than 2hrs to work by car then not only are you wasting a large percentage of your own life, but you're also harming the environment. It should not be a "given" that it's A) normal, B) done by a large portion of the population, C) hampering the endeavours to adopt vehicles that allow for a more sustainable energy acquisition.

Losing the ability to do a road trip? yeah, I buy that as a concern. But if you're one of the people affected by the range limitations of current EV's for commuting (one-way) then I have nothing but pity for you and I sincerely hope you either enjoy it or that your life improves (not being condescending, I really hope it gets better for you)

The problem is that companies are allowed to pile downtown to maximize profits, but that people should subsidize them in that as to not harm the environment. So, if a legal framework is being made to look at sustainability, ICUs are not the only thing that should be looked at.

Edit: colder climates will have a lot of problems adopting EVs, if ever on a mass scale.

Companies piling downtown helps the environment. It allows more people to live close by or commute via mass transportation. Suburban sprawl is the energy-intensive way of living.

I've got an EV in Minneapolis (colder than Toronto but less crowded) and I love it. So does every EV owner I've ever met.

I'm playing devil's advocate here. Go look up the arguments yourself, and this time open your mind: range is a valid argument to the people making it. Even if realistically it isn't nearly as big a deal as they think, mental peace is more important than you seem to give it credit for.

Do you have a link to the "climate panel's" recommendations that increase the Tesla price? I can't find any specific recommendations with actual numbers, only general stuff on suggested areas for inventivising BEVs.

The idea is that EVs are fully taxed the danish 150% car tax (on top og the danish 25% sales tax) but get a discount of about 50.000 DKK or just under 8.000USD..

For a base Tesla Model S, that would mean a tax of about 120.000 USD..

What's the current tax on a base Tesla Model S?

Yes but thats 20% of the 150% so more like 30%.

As the system is now, it will be 40% of the 150% by january.

So you're saying the taxes on a 65.200 USD car will increase by 30.000 USD, with only 8.000 USD in discounts to offset the increase?


As great as it is, remember that hybrids are exempt. And the law is very lax when it comes to a definition of a hybrid - Range Rover has a model with a whooping 1 mile(!!!) of electric range, but of course it has an electric motor so it qualifies as a hybrid and could still be sold under this ban. I expect very very soon we'll see this kind of extremely minor electrification coming to all kinds of vehicles, where a tiny electric motor integrated into the transmission provides few extra HP of power just to call the car a hybrid.

> Range Rover has a model with a whooping 1 mile(!!!) of electric range, but of course it has an electric motor so it qualifies as a hybrid

"Just 1 mile of electric range" is true for most hybrids that don't plug into to charge (from Ford, Chevy, Toyota, etc). Obviously more miles would be even better, but this isn't a terrible thing on it's own.

The base non-plug-in Toyota Prius Hybrid has had "just 1 mile of electric range" for over a decade now, that hasn't stopped it from getting 50mpg ratings (a full 50% decrease in emissions from the current average US fleet MPG at ~25mpg).

This. Think of the battery and electric motor in a hybrid like a caching system that makes the power-train able to use energy a lot more efficiently.

It's like a solid state version of a giant flywheel under the car. Bonus in that there's no extra angular momentum.

Electric motor needs to be large enough to absorbe the momentum of travel, though. You saved momentum storage but not size.

> that hasn't stopped it from getting 50mpg ratings

Is this the "50mpg under ideal laboratory conditions driven by an AI" or "as driven in a real city/highway by a human"?

50mpg as tested by the EPA - https://www.epa.gov/vehicle-and-fuel-emissions-testing . Real world drivers tend to report similar numbers - http://www.fuelly.com/car/toyota/prius

Obviously, you can stomp on the throttle and get worse numbers if you want. But US MPG ratings are reasonably real-world accurate. (And the US fleet number comes from the same testing from the same group using the same metrics -- so they should be fair to compare)

My 2016 Camry Hybrid consistently gets 39mpg. There are all kinds of situations where you don't need an engine, and it shuts off completely - like coasting downhill, on a ramp from one freeway to another, at 42 mph. Engine shuts off, and regenerative braking slows the car as much as everyone else is braking.

I get 49 MPG in mixed mode driving on a Euro III emissions compliant diesel every day. Newer diesels are even more efficient. And I don't spare the accelerator either.

Right, but it's diesel... you never know what else you're exhausting into the environment.

Euro 3 means you're probably not eligible to enter a good chunk number of European city centres - and for good reason.

As for MPG are you talking US gallons or imperial? Also what's your car's segment?

U. S. gallons. My car is a large luxury performance sportwagon.

There are no cities with full bans on Euro III diesels or any diesel yet that I'm aware of or been denied entry in Sweden, and those few cities in Germany that do have them have only implemented partial restrictions.

The bans are not real, it's all just political maneuvering in order to get cheap votes.

Do you trust Bosch and your vehicle manufacturer to be honest to you, when they lie to your government?

I do, because my manufacturer is a supercool Japanese company. Japanese diesels for life!

I trust physics and chemistry, that's what I trust: when you elongate the exhaust manifold and manage to cool the exhaust down enough, you end up not even needing to inject Urea and still have an Euro VI compliant diesel.

It's the only company selling diesel passenger vehicles in Japan right now, with such a good motor that it's beloved by taxi drivers there. Which company is it, and what is the engine called?

You would be surprised how many times you use that one EV mile during the average 30 mile commute. In traffic and cities, you often don't need more than the 40 HP given by the transmission alone.

Hybrids have a torque curve that starts like an EV, then continues like a gas car. This means great torque from 0 mph through highway speeds.

And then there's idle at stop lights, the biggest waste of fuel and a huge cause of pollution. Modern engines use 6 seconds of fuel when starting, but most cars idle for minutes at a light.

Interesting bit about the Range Rover model, but from the fourth paragraph:

> “In just 12 years, we will prohibit the sale of new diesel and petrol cars. And in 17 years, every new car in Denmark must be an electric car or other forms of zero-emissions car,” Rasmussen said, implying that hybrids will be phased out in 2035.

So hybrids are not as exempt as earlier discussion would suggest.

Any thoughts on converting a hybrid to an EV?

Edit: The engine cavity should be able to hold a lithium battery ~250+ lbs, and the 1.6 kWh NiMH battery is another ~250+ lbs that can be replaced with another lithium battery pack. If a Powerwall were used for each, the car would have 27.4 kWh, which I think would power my Camry Hybrid only about 30 miles. So maybe not very feasible until after another battery technology upgrade.

The 2019 Range Rover hybrid has an all electric range of 31 miles. Maybe an older model has a 1 mile electric range? That didn't pass the smell test so I had to look it up.

Yeah the new 400e has more range. The original that came out few years ago had only 1 mile range, as mentioned in the brochure:


"How far can my Range Rover Hybrid travel using just the electric motor?

When Electric Vehicle mode is activated manually using the EV button, the EV light on the instrument cluster will glow green. The Range Rover Hybrid will drive silently at slow speeds for a distance of up to 1 mile/1.6km provided the hybrid battery is fully charged when EV mode is activated"

That's actually plenty of storage to be useful to a hybrid vehicle. Remember, that battery is always charged by the engine so the trade-off of less weight also means longer range.

The vast majority of the efficiency gains in city driving from a non plug in Hybrid is regenerative breaking. Sure, slowing down across a huge mountain represents a lot of energy, but making stop an go traffic vastly more efficient takes very little storage.

> Remember, that battery is always charged by the engine so the trade-off of less weight also means longer range.

True, but this car is already so extremely heavy that the added battery is 4-5%.

At first that sounded ridiculous but actually it might be just right for an SUV in suburbia. Day to day driving is electric, then long distance is combustion. Pretty much what I would need in Australia.

Indeed. Mercedes has already announced that it will "electrify" 300 models over the next decade or so, and I expect at least 280 of those to work exactly as you said, not just for the purpose of exploiting this kind of legislation, but also for marketing purposes ("An electrified car is basically just the same as an electric car, right?").

> 1 mile(!!!) of electric range,

Other people have talked about this, but I'm wondering if the change to having electric drive motors and an engine just for generating electricity is more efficient and easier on the engine. (regenerative breaking aside)

The Chevy Volt is like this -- drivetrain is electric, gas engine is just a generator.

What you are describing is a “series hybrid”. The Chevy Volt is not a pure series hybrid, it has an elaborate mechanism to connect the gas engine to the wheels when it is efficient to do so. For example highway cruise where the gas engine can run near its optimal rpm.

This is how hybrids work at low speeds. They use 2 motor/generators - 1 to push the wheels, and the other to refill the batteries.

Most hybrids use a slightly different engine, which is more efficient but generates less force. The hybrid transmission can add torque when accelerating or going uphill.

The engine must get less wear. My Camry Hybrid only needs an oil change every edit: 10,000 miles.

   My Camry Hybrid only needs an oil change every 5000 miles. 
That's not an impressively long oil change routine - pretty typical for a newer car, was that the correct number?

No, but you don't need a complex drive train, like modern plug-in hybrids have.

> And in 17 years, every new car in Denmark must be an electric car or other forms of zero-emissions car,” Rasmussen said, implying that hybrids will be phased out in 2035.

But then aren't hybrids better than BEV, given a few miles of range?

Why make a 90KwHr battery for a car, if you can make 3 cars out of it. After all current reserves of Cobalt, nickel, and lithium are finite.

Cobalt is the most finite one of those, and once lithium prices go up it is likely someone will begin harvesting it from sea water

Or fising carbon to make lithium.

I assume that despite the one mile figure, it will still decrease the amount of fuel burnt. Not having to burn fuel for every stop and go will save a bunch of carbon I bet.

Car manufacturers are now looking at using 48v powered turbochargers to eliminate turbo lag. I wonder if that could be seen as an electrification of the powertrain?

A turbocharger is a funny shaped air compressor. So let's put an air compressor in the trunk and pipe the air to the intake manifold. And if there car is a hybrid, that battery can power the compressor too.

Actually the centrifugal compressor is pretty common in many applications, so more typical than funny looking.

I went to Denmark last year and spent two weeks driving all over the countryside, and likely would have been difficult to reach with an electric car. Many of the places I visited would not have been accessible via public transit. I'm curious how future generations will reach remote places as we move away from fossil fuels.

BTW, I loved Denmark :)

Send yourself back in time to when less than 1% of the populace is using petrol cars to get around. In that timeframe of the early 1900's, it would've been incredibly hard to get around the rural areas as well, since they'd still be dominated by horse, foot, and perhaps bicycle traffic. Now, send yourself forward 100 years: it will be nearly impossible to use petrol-powered transport, and EV will be the standard.

Saying the current infrastructure is inadequate for a new mode of transport is a truism. Infrastructure takes decades to build out, of course EV's will not be expected to have huge charging infrastructures while less than 1% of cars are EV.

Long term, It'll be just as easy, if not easier, to get around in the future. Consider all the new transport tech that's emerging: electric bikes, scooters, fully self-driving vehicles, drones which can carry people, VTOL aircraft, hyperloop, etc. They are all more interesting and promising than the current noxious fume spewing transport. I'm excited for even 1/3 of those options to come to fruition :)

I absolutely agree with you about infrastructure. Its definitely coming and will cover most use cases.

But I do wonder how we're gonna cover that last mile. Adding hundreds of miles of range to an ICE car is hilariously simple, just a couple of plastic containers in the trunk and you're good to go.

Can't add extra batteries like that. Energy density is not a truism.

Maybe portable ICE generators, sort of like hybrid addons for full EVs.

I really liked the hybrid tech. I don't know why its not dominating.

There are power lines to most places already. The utility replaces/upgrades them on a schedule (IIRC the expected lifespan for overhead lines last for 17 years, underground for 15). Which is to say the infrastructure is mostly there, and just needs updates that would happen anyway.

This seems so clear and yet we get the "how are we going to build this huge charging network" all over the place. If the situation was reversed we'd consider it preposterous to think we could build a network of gas stations that get their fuel driven in by trucks. The current network is far crazier than just adding a bunch of outlets that use the existing and extremely robust electricity grid that's already in place.

> the hybrid tech. I don't know why its not dominating.

Because it isn't especially efficient.

And people (peasants) lived and died in the same village there are good sides to increased mobility increased social mobility for one.

Difficult why? It's a tiny country.

Skagen (Northernmost tip) to Flensburg in Germany is ~402km. Skagen to Copenhagen (East) is 410km. The longest reasonable point to point journey in Denmark is in the 550km or so range (e.g. Skagen to Lolland), though you can certainly end up with longer journeys if you pick more convoluted routes for sight-seeing and end up having to charge, this will not be a typical journey for most people. And most of the population is located within a much smaller part of the country.

And this is with 12 years to expand charging networks and for vehicles to increase range before a ban on new petrol/diesel car sales, and in other words many more years before everyone will be forced to use an electric.

> Difficult why? It's a tiny country.

You're not wrong. I was just wondering how people would get around.

Factors that made me wonder included:

- when you're sightseeing, it's faster to buy gas (in today's era) than to charge to full battery - the place I parked my car each night was not near a charging station and/or outlet - having infrastructure in place to drive all over makes means there's less friction to go to remote places, and if there's less demand for remote places in the future, there may be less infrastructure near those places

I'm not trying to make argue any specific point here. I was just wondering. And even though Denmark is a tiny country, many other are damn huge!

Those petrol stations are only there because of all of the petrol/diesel powered cars on the road. By saying that there will be no new petrol/diesel cars sold by 2035, you can guess that most cars will be electric by 2045.

That means that investment can take place in setting up charging infrastructure around the country. Now businesses can invest in charging networks, safe in the knowledge that the demand will come. It's not here yet but it will be there.

I guess the solution is to provide more charging stations, isn't it? Looks pretty straightforward to me.

What's more widely distributed than electricity?

Delivering high voltage to recharge the amperage these batteries need is a whole different grid in remote areas to delivering 240v for light bulbs and fridges.

Separately Norway is one of the richest countries on the planet thanks to its offshore oil. Their sovereign fund dwarfs Saudi Arabia in comparison so maybe they currently can cannibalize that revenue to build a supergrid.

China is building an ultra high voltage direct current supergrid to accommodate future EV needs (using primarily coal as a power source). I don't see this happening anywhere else?


Denmark doesn't really have "remote areas" by the standards of large countries.

Here's a map of the high voltage power grid. I don't think anywhere is more than 50km from a transmission line.


The increase will be gradual, and no doubt the power grid company is already planning for it.

> Delivering high voltage to recharge the amperage these batteries need is a whole different grid in remote areas to delivering 240v for light bulbs and fridges.

If they have 240v outlets, that's half the battle. That is around 31 miles per hour of charge, from a standard outlet (although you have to make sure your wiring is good) without any extra infrastructure.

This may not be sufficient for a cross-country drive across the continental US, but for most european countries? You can drive 300 miles and charge overnight even with no fast charging at all.

Compare this with setting up gas stations (digging underground to install the tanks, logistics to keep them topped off, etc) and gasoline starts to look quite insane. It's just that we have this existing infrastructure built over a century that we take for granted.

I don't know what the situation is in Europe, but in the US farmers use a lot of power. They have welders and other such tools that can draw 50 amps or more. The motors for their drying fans are drawing 20 amps each (and several of them can run at once). Note that the above amp figures are at 240 volts just like power in Europe, not the lower 120 we use for lights and fridges.

continuous draw for hundreds of thousands of batteries is vastly more than this example

What is the application for hundreds of thousands of batteries on a farm?

The guys who run the British National Grid disagree that the grid needs major changes: http://fes.nationalgrid.com/media/1264/ev-myth-buster-v032.p..., http://fes.nationalgrid.com/media/1253/final-fes-2017-update.... The Norwegians aren't predicting the need for supergrid either: http://publikasjoner.nve.no/rapport/2017/rapport2017_77.pdf (sorry it's in Norwegian and too big for Google and Bing to translate).

No need for a separate grid to deliver high voltage even in rural areas, the overhead or underground wires are between 4KV to 30KV anyway. There is a transformer to step it down to the end use voltage, whatever that is, eg 240 or 400.

You could use train/tram/trolleybus grid for adequate voltages.

Find me high-voltage high-amperage connections on the side of the freeway though.

That doesn't cost much (far less than a gas equivalent) and can be installed alongside highways within weeks.

If people purchase EV _en masse_, they'll have charging stations everywhere. There's no egg/chicken problem here.

Worldwide, transport energy use is about 150% total electricity use — 30PWh/y vs. 20PWh/y.

I’m not saying we can’t upgrade production (I’m actually significantly more optimistic than the best case IAE estimates), but it’s not as trivial as just installing some new wires and transformers.

Yeah, so, the first thing to know about that is ICE is ludicrously inefficient. Spinning all that metal at variable speed with tiny explosions is, unsurprisingly, not the best way to turn high density fuels into energy. The thing ICE had on its side is the energy density, on other metrics it's a bad deal (hence why free charging for EVs is affordable)

So if you have 400MW of ICE cars you don't need 400MW of electricity to replace that, something more like 80-100MW is more like it IIRC. The infrastructure build cost isn't zero, but it's much less than this 150% metric suggests.

"ludicrously inefficient"

No, they're not. They're, as implemented in a car, a ludicrous example of engineering compromises.

Put a hybrid drive methane spark-ignition high compression engine and you'll have similar CO2 emissions from a e-car powered by a thermal plant (the vast majority of our power). It'll cost as much as a Tesla too.

Getting some rough numbers from Wikipedia it looks like most common new cars are sitting around 35% thermal efficiency. I believe a formula 1 engine achieved 50% thermal efficiency recently but the cost of that is obscenely high. Where as electric motor efficiency easily hits 90%+.

It's also quite inefficient to convert hydrocarbon energy to mechanical energy to electrical energy to chemical energy back to electrical energy and then back to mechanical energy, as an electric car does. ICE goes straight from hydrocarbon to mechanical. It would not surprise me if it's more efficient, though I don't know.

I'm curious, is that only non-point-to-point personal transportation or does it include all forms (e.g. ocean shipping, rail, public transport)?

That’s very good point, looking at my source the answer appears to be “everything”. I will try to remember that in future.

However, my point is only that we will need non trivial increases in electricity production, rather than any specific number. That point still stands.

You could have a solar farm and some batteries close to each stations. It's not trivial but it isn't a bottleneck either.

When I ran the numbers for the USA, it was something along the lines of adding a 1m wide strip of normal efficiency PV alongside the entire length of the interstate network. I’ve not looked at the size of any other highway system relative to population density but I do know that Denmark gets less sunlight than the USA average.

Like I said in my original comment: I’m optimistic, I just don’t think it’s trivial.

To put it another way, I think it’s something that requires a government rather than being achievable purely with the private sector. That might mean just incentives and template plans, or it might require government to commission things, but it’s that sort of scale.

Denmark is small, flat and relatively populated and rich.

Probably you're never far from a high voltage transmission line.

They're already common along the highways in DK (incl. a few Superchargers)

Map: https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=tesla+s...


Very straightforward. Now, who's going to foot that bill?

Same people who footed the bill for petrol/gas stations?

I.e. commercial operators who want to sell you coffee/snacks/flowers/other high-markup items as well as fuel/energy. Added bonus for EV: longer dwell time while waiting for a fast-charge means more likely to spend spend spend (perhaps)

Major increases to a nations grid is not the same is putting up a cheap and cheerful shed and a few underground tanks.

"Same people who footed the bill for petrol/gas stations?"

That would be me, and I don't want to foot that bill, because at a gas station I can fill up the tank in under five minutes, and at a recharging station I'd have to wait a minimum of half an hour, so I wouldn't be getting the same level of service as I do today. As far as my wallet and especially my time (which is far more expensive) are concerned: no!

I guess you'll need just need to get the bus when you cant get a fossil fuel vehicle any more. Good luck.

P.S. 350kw fast chargers are typically being advertised as zero to 80% charge in 15 minutes - cars that can accept these chargers are due in the next couple of years from Audi, Ford, BMW et al so mainstream "ordinary" cars as well as exotica like Porsche. I cant find any stats online, but I have read that the average time someone spends filling up with fossil fuels is 7 minutes, so an extra 8 minutes is not that outrageous and even that is zero to 80% - if you had say 20% remaining I'd imagine that the time would be in the order 10-12 minutes (guesstimate)

"I guess you'll need just need to get the bus when you cant get a fossil fuel vehicle any more. Good luck."

A bus also needs diesel (:-D)

My car is old enough that I could make my own biodiesel with the electricity from solar panels and run on it, so when the rest are stuck, I'll always have fuel. Even if nuclear war hits.

There are electric buses running as test vehicles on major bus routes in Copenhagen, and the 5C bus line runs CNG buses exclusively.

Diesel buses are still the majority, but they are slowly being phased out.

There are already 100% electric busses running in London and elsewhere, with more on their way.

Good luck making your own fuel (N.B. in a lot of places it is illegal or in dubious grey-areas, plus there are the obvious environmental and safety implications which might prevent you from doing it one way or another). Why not just use that electricity from the solar panels to charge an EV's batteries?

"Good luck making your own fuel (N.B. in a lot of places it is illegal or in dubious grey-areas,"

Biodiesel has lower emissions of both NOx and CO2. By the time we're in such an apocalyptic scenario where internal combustion engines are a thing of the post, nobody will be giving a damn about some guy driving such an anachronism. And show me where it's illegal to produce one's own fuel.

"Why not just use that electricity from the solar panels to charge an EV's batteries?"

(Car guy here! I just came back from Hockenheim with my racing license not too long ago!)

Because with my diesel, I have a range of at least 1000 km, ~1300 km if I hypermile. Batteries lose capacity. Electric cars have no clutch pedal nor a manual transmission (they don't need it), so for a car guy like me, that sucks serious ass. Acceleration isn't everything: electric vehicles sap all the enjoyment out of driving. If there were electric cars with a clutch pedal and a manual transmission, I'd be willing to trade the range and make a compromise, but there aren't so there is no incentive for me to do so.

You are out of luck then. It is the direction the market and governments are headed in.

"The needs of many outweigh the needs of few?"

I've heard such rhetoric before; it did not end well.

A charging station is probably cheaper than a gas station to build.

Id like to see your figures on that.

I have no numbers but it seems a charging station is simpler. No gas tank to bury, no risk of leakage, no fire hazards.

A couple years ago, a quick charger (CHAdeMO, not Tesla's) cost about 50k. Not sure what kind of permits were required.

Can you build a gas station with 50k? How much is just the labor to bury the underground tank?

And that's a quick charger, which you would use mostly for trips. For most purposes you only need easily accessible power outlets (although the level 2 stations are far more convenient). Most cars are sitting in parking lots most of the time anyway.

How far ahead are you thinking?

BEVs are likely to match pure ICEVs (I.e. not counting hybrids) in range in the not too distant future. Yeah you could theoretically put in a bigger fuel tank, or bring extra gasoline. But I mean a standard light vehicle that doesn't sacrifice storage space.

Meanwhile, if you get enough EVs on the road, you'll soon have charging stations everywhere. We already see it here in Norway. Almost every roadside McDonalds have rapid chargers. There are a couple of supermarket chains that have gotten pretty good at having chargers in many of their supermarkets.

> There are a couple of supermarket chains that have gotten pretty good at having chargers in many of their supermarkets.

Not where I am. I've recently driven several times from Drammen to Trondheim and never seen a charger at any of the supermarkets I passed on the way. I don't mean they don't exist, just that I didn't see them, can you list a few of them?

I live in the furthest, most godforsaken boondocks of Denmark. I see Teslas almost daily. Of course I do. There's probably nowhere in the country I couldn't reach on a single charge.

I used to think the same about where I live - Australia - a lot bigger and more sparsely populated than Denmark. But here is an article about the first woman (and second person) to drive around the country in an EV:


and two maps of the network in 2016 and 2018, showing the effort (by Tesla owners club!) in building out the network:


Yep they're not all superchargers, many are just EV friendly 240v hookups. But as the lady in the first article said "the reality is that if you can see the lights on, or that the kettle works, then you can charge".

Got me thinking about my next car. Or campervan. We often camp in caravan parks - with a 15 amp hookup plugged into the vehicle...

The local news is reporting the plan is to stop sales of diesel cars.

Not gasoline...

Regardless, if we force the market, electric cars will catch up. But bans probably won't do the trick, I bet it'll take incentives in terms of higher taxes on gasoline and lower on electric cars.

Did any of these places lack electricity, or why do you think an electric car would have been problematic? I just came back from a 2800 Km trip through rural Italy (5 days) and had no issues at all (OK, except for crappy roads and bad Google Maps data routing me through buildings etc.).

Is this not enough charging stations?

https://i.imgur.com/dd9Jdzf.png (Orange are high power chargers, green are lower power chargers, source is plugshare.com)

And that's not counting people's own charging points at home. Most people will rarely need a public one as they can probably do several of their daily commutes on a single charge.

Indeed. Not only do I charge at home primarily, I installed two public chargers out on my large driveway for additional EV charging in the event my nearby Supercharger is full (my chargers are ClipperCreek, are EV agnostic, and advertised on PlugShare).

My employer installed several stations as well at my request when Tesla was still offering equipment for free (equal parts Tesla specific chargers and generic EV chargers), which I plug into when at the office, but only to stay topped up while my vehicle actively keeps itself cool in the Florida sun.

For two million cars?

Denmark is small enough that with typical EVs today, you can drive tip to tip, pretty much. There are some journeys you might need to charge for, but not many of the journeys most people would make very often.

I biked through Denmark a few years back. It's a really small country. So a modern electric car would need like one stop to recharge in the middle somewhere?

I presume that hybrid cars will solve this problem for remote travellers.

Which you'd expect to basically become a niche case eventually.

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