Global warming and the drastic fluctuations in our climate are issues that require our utmost attention. It requires some of us to sometimes give up certain activities so we can benefit from a cleaner environment. For example, carpooling is inexpensive and a time-efficient way of getting to work or school. Society as a whole also benefits from others carpooling because they are no longer exposed to a high rate of car emissions. People are less likely to be affected by the health implications that come from inhaling harmful gasses. There are people, however, who do not believe global warming is an issue. They choose to freeride off of those who do pay to have a cleaner environment. Economist William Nordhaus points out a valid argument in his book Climate Casino when he says: ‘The main insight is that people must have economic incentives to change their activities in ways that lower emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The best way to accomplish this is by putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions. This will, in turn, raise the relative prices of carbon-intensive goods and lower the relative prices of carbon-free goods, thereby bending down the trend of carbon dioxide emissions.’
Energy powered vehicles is an example of a product that might eventually replace gas-powered vehicles in the car market because of their cost-effectiveness and low contamination rate. Gas powered vehicles are expensive to maintain and emit gasses harmful to us and to our environment. According to a writer for Forbes Magazine, Constance Douris, ‘Energy powered cars do not require as many components to operate. Electric motors only have one moving part while engines in traditional automobiles contain dozens. Items that do not need to be replaced in electric vehicles include oil, fan belts, air filters, timing belts, head gaskets, cylinder heads, and spark plugs. Thus, keeping an electric car running costs less when compared to conventional automobiles’. In the future, when energy powered vehicles permanently enter our markets, we might see a decrease in people’s willingness to buy conventional cars and an increase in people’s willingness to buy an electric car.
A positive externality that would arise from transitioning to electric vehicles is that fewer people would suffer from infections or diseases that arise from air pollution. This, in turn, would lead to decreases in government spending on the health sector. The ‘extra’ money could be used towards funding public schools or reconstructing roads and buildings. According to The American Lung Association, they estimate that ‘[the United States] would save around $20.5 billion dollars in annual health costs and $12.8 billion dollars in climate costs’ if everyone were to commit to using hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles or hybrid cars.
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