When Can I Get My Flying Car?
George Jetson drove a flying car that apparently ran on starlight and giggles. He never complained about gas prices.
The car had room for six and a cool fin thing on the back.
The Jetsons takes place in 2062, of course, so there’s still time. But man, I wish we had these cars already.
Honestly, anything to get away from gas prices.
In my area, the price at the pump has almost tripled from its pandemic lows. And that’s about average across the U.S., according to GasBuddy, a gas price-tracking site. Even worse, prices this month are the highest they’ve been in the past decade:
I’m one of the lucky ones – I can work remotely most of the time. And our family car is a hybrid, which cuts down on some costs. But we are still in line with the national average – American families spend about 3% of their income directly on fuel.
Many people aren’t so lucky. Driving a car regularly is a non-negotiable part of lots of people’s lives. And according to the New York Times, energy experts say that lower-income families’ cost of fuel can be up to 10% of their pay. That means high gas prices can start to squeeze family budgets very tightly, very quickly.
We see this in the national polling. American voters say that gas prices are one of the top things that they will consider during the midterm elections in November, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.
But it’s likely that high prices will affect more than just politics. As Mangrove founder Matt Badiali said in a recent subscribers-only update:
We saw the impact of high oil prices after 2008: There was a massive move to hybrid cars.
That flight from gas guzzlers is back, only now it’s into electric vehicles (EVs).
(Shameless plug: Matt’s New Energy newsletter hasn’t gone live to the public yet – only a select few of his friends received an invitation. But we will let you know here in the Grove Weekly when we open it up for everyone.)
That feeling is global, according to a recent poll from consulting firm Ernst & Young. Of respondents from 18 countries, more than half wanted their next car to be an EV.
It won’t be a car like George Jetson’s. Actually, The Jetsons’ predictions in 1962 seem to be a little lacking. Interestingly though, actual auto-industry forecasters of the time were more on the nose. A Chrysler employee in 1958 predicted we’d see solar-powered batteries for electric cars. And in 1959, a Ford researcher said that we’d have innovative ways to charge our car batteries in the 2000s.
While very few people can drop everything and buy an electric car today, there’s no denying that they’re the cars of the future.
That future is getting closer and closer – a used Nissan Leaf hatchback will set you back less than $7,000 today. And after we factor in upkeep, emissions, and – shudder – gas prices, EVs are cheaper to use in the long run. That will certainly factor into the average family’s decision the next time they’re in the market for a car.
Sure, none of the 2022 models have that cool fin thing on the back. But we’re still well on our way to a future that Rosie the Robot would be excited about.
– Annie Stevenson
Numbers to Know:
$140 per month
The average price drivers spent on gas for their commute to work in May 2022. Working from home had fewer costs, but electricity bills were also up an average of $23 per month over 2019. Expenses can vary widely based on location and other factors though, according to Fortune.
Share of respondents that agreed with the phrase: “humanity is doomed.” The survey of 10,000 young people comes from The Lancet. This is consistent with reports of climate anxiety among young people today.
Amount that air pollution is thought to lower the global average life expectancy. The locations with the worst air pollution are in South Asia, where dirty air could be shaving off up to five years.
What’s Going on in Sustainable Investing:
The Supreme Court ruled to limit the EPA’s power, but observers say it may not matter
“Outside the courtroom, reviving the fossil fuel business isn’t going to be simple.”
Coal companies are already winding down output, and may not ramp it back up again. (Washington Post)
EV demand is so hot that Tesla owners are flipping their cars like houses
“In terms of Teslas, the price of new vehicles increased so much last year, and waiting periods are so long for new vehicles, that the value of used cars skyrocketed.” (Los Angeles Times)
Links We Like:
Inside Clean Energy: Solid-State Batteries for EVs Make a Leap Toward Mass Production
A deep dive on solid-state batteries and how they work (Inside Climate News)
Climate change is eroding a precious resource: sleep
Even when it’s just a little warmer than usual, higher night temperatures mess with our slumber. A new worldwide study adds up these losses. (National Geographic)