Bring more plug-in cars to Canada

Photo Credit: Adam Van der Zwan

With the ever-steady rise in gas prices, driving my car from Coquitlam to Vancouver is costing more and more every day. As an individual looking for an alternative, the fabled electric cars caught my eye. Now here’s something that wouldn’t break the bank to fuel!

Despite optimistic research, a lighter strain on the wallet, and a removal of many harmful gas emissions, plug-in vehicles remain a rare sight. SFU environmental researcher John Axsen has concluded that over one-third of Canadian buyers want an electric vehicle, but less than one per cent of vehicle sales in Canada are electric due to “low consumer awareness and limited vehicle choice.”

Axsen hopes that if policymakers and politicians notice the studies, plug-in vehicles may be introduced to the Canadian market. And this makes sense! Considering the buzz that surrounds climate change and protecting the environment, using this clean source of energy would fit into the most hippie of standards.

However, there aren’t a lot of electric cars on the road, and companies seem hesitant to devote more than a hybrid-type vehicle to the pursuit of a cleaner drive. Why is this so? My tinfoil hat-guess would be that big oil companies are pushing against the electric car movement. It would make sense. If electric cars became the norm, oil tycoons would lose out on serious revenue.

If general consumers and public figures were willing to talk about the benefits of electric cars and drum up support behind them, companies would look to the potential serious money they could make. Not only would clean energy become prevalent with land transportation, it would be lighter on consumer wallets as well.

Instead of outsourcing our fossil fuels only to have them sold back to us for ridiculous sums of money, we would be able to produce our own electricity and skip the tycoon entirely. More money that is saved on transportation would mean more money to spend on other things, which would also mean more money could be injected into the local Canadian economy.

This would presumably result in significantly lowered greenhouse gas emissions for those who care about the planet, and lowered prices for those who want to save on daily gas money. It’s a win-win.

As the Canadian environmental activist David Suzuki said, “some argue we should get coal, oil and gas out of the ground as quickly as possible, build more pipelines and make as much money as we can selling it here and abroad. Their priorities are the economy and meeting short-term energy needs so we can live the lives to which we’ve become accustomed.”

With electric cars, we will be able to help the economy and continue our lifestyles, while accidentally helping the environment as well. So bring on the electric cars. While the initial problem is a lack of charging stations, that can be easily solved with the increased demand. I, for one, welcome our new electronic overlords.