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March 04, 2007


Thomas Pedersen

It's easy to get frustrated and impatient with development and roll-out of electrical vehicles if you follow blogs like this on a daily basis. However, it will most likely take years, if not decades before something seriously happens. And when it does, government agencies will probably be the first to adapt. That's why it is very, very positive to hear the positive review from La Poste! It's great marketing, coming from an independent authoritative source (at least to the French public, I guess)

Next step is noisy garbage trucks that wake up the neighbourhood at 5 a.m...


There are two factors to keep in mind here. One is the very high taxes on gasoline in Europe, which distorts the comparative price between gasoline and electricity. The second is the good fortune and foresight of the French to aggressively build nuclear power plants. Their electricity is cheaper and less polluting. Without those factors, the economics are likely to be much different in the US.

Kit P.

“In France, which relies on nuclear and hydroelectric power for most of its electricity generation, electric cars would help achieve a drastic cut in greenhouse-gas emissions.”

France also does not have much oil either. I would expect the EU to require a LCA per ISO 14000 to claim ghg reductions. This should provide lots of good data about EVs in the US.

Stephen Boulet

One other factor to keep in mind is that the price paid in the US for gasoline is not the fair market price either.

I know that we (Americans) give oil companies tax breaks to develop oil fields that would otherwise go undeveloped due to financial risk. Are there other subsidies? Has anyone estimated what the "fair market price" of a gallon of gas would be?


Matti Kinnunen


You need to count at least 50% of the defense budget as oil subsidy. And the cost of the war in Iraq. Some calculation I saw indicated that these subsidies are most than $50 a barrel...


Stephen, Matti, the price for oil is set by world supply and demand. It makes no difference what subsidies, if any, are paid. The price of gasoline is a direct result of the price of oil, plus taxes. Taxes on gasoline in the US are much higher than on other commodities, and in Europe, the taxes are higher still. The part about 50% of the defense budget is merely a political assertion disguised as an accounting adjustment. You maybe right about the politics, but it is meaningless to pretend that the price of oil is other than what the market sets.


The market price is the market price, but there are other costs, which can reasonably considered an implicit subsidy.

For just one example, rail in the US pays property taxes, but highways don't. Federal gas taxes in the US go just for highway maintenance: when was the last time you saw a tax that was earmarked to go back to the industry, rather than paying for the general overhead of having government?

There are many other gasoline subsidies, like local government paying for road maintenance with property tax or other general revenues, and zoning which requires free parking.

If we wouldn't be in the Middle East if not for oil, then our military costs are a real cost of using oil, and should be included. That's just good accounting and economics.

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Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles