Our family bought a Model X and Model S Tesla in 2018. As a result, my wife and I have not been to a gas station over the past three years. Having owned an automobile that relies on gasoline, the act of driving to the gas station to pump gas became second nature. As a result, we did not need to make our weekly trips to pump gas with electric cars and instead charged our vehicles overnight while we slept. Owning an electric car feels very different because we never really stop to recharge outside of long trips of over 200 miles. That feeling of not having to take weekly trips to get gas or wake up early on the weekend to get an oil change is liberating.
Skipping the Gas Station is Liberating
While the feeling of not having to get gas is excellent, I wanted to try and figure out how much time do you save by skipping the gas station. So the first step I took was to figure out how often the average person gets gas. According to a study, I found most Americans refuel their vehicles once a week. So now I will assume that the average person spends ten minutes driving to the gas station, another five minutes to pump gas, pay, and leave the gas station. That means that the average trip to the gas station on average takes about fifteen minutes per trip. So with a weekly trip to the gas station, the average person, according to my estimate, spends thirteen hours a year driving to and from the gas station and pumping gas.
Just by skipping the gas station over the past three years, we have owned our electric cars, my wife and I each got 39 hours of our life back to use our time as we wish. In addition, charging our electric vehicles at home has been a seamless experience. At the end of the day, we park our car in the garage and plug our car into the charger. The vehicle charges at home overnight when electricity is cheapest, and in the morning, we have a fully charged car. The time it takes to plug your vehicle into a home charger takes less than a minute. And while it takes anywhere from four to nine hours to charge an electric car completely, chargings occur overnight, so you are never waiting.
Charging at Home is Seamless
Also, keep in mind the average American drives about 29 miles per day. And with the most popular electric cars able to all driver at a minimum of over 200 miles on a single charge, the reality most daily charging is topping off the battery, which does not take a lot of time. So owning an electric car is a very different experience and one where there is far less maintenance and support needed to keep your vehicle running. So in addition to skipping the gas station, we have not had to do any maintenance on our cars, which has saved us a ton of time.
What is electric vehicle autopilot is a question many people have. When I first heard of autopilot in electric cars, I pictured a car driving itself I thought of Knight Rider. However, I quickly learned that the fully autonomous car is a long way out. Actually, the society of automotive engineers has defined five levels of vehicle automation.
Driving Automation Levels Explained
Level 0 represents a vehicle where the driver manages all aspects of driving. The driver may have some features such as emergency braking, blind-spot warning, or lane departure warning, but the driver is making all the decisions.
Level 1 represents a vehicle where the driver is in control but may have a limited driver assistance feature. For example, the vehicle may have either lane-centering or adaptive cruise control.
Level 2 represents a vehicle with partial driving automation. For example, vehicles with lane centering and adaptive cruise control capabilities help drive vehicles in certain situations. However, he still needs to be supervising the vehicle at all times.
Level 3 is a vehicle that has partial automation. The vehicle would be able to drive by itself in limited circumstances but still needs human supervision.
Level 4 vehicles have a high level of driving automation. As a result, the vehicle should be able to handle most driving situations, but there would be instances the vehicle would need human intervention.
Level 5 vehicles are fully autonomous and can drive themselves in all situations.
Driving Automation Today
Most vehicles today that offer autopilot are level 2 in terms of the level of driving automation. Today, drivers who use autopilot need to be constantly alert and ready to take over as driving automation is limited. From my experience using Tesla’s autopilot features, the vehicle has integrated aspects of adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and navigation features. However, when using the feature, you have to be ready to take over at a moment’s notice as the vehicle does not know how to handle all the scenarios a driver may face.
If you want to learn more about what kind of autopilot features, head over to Electric Driver to learn more about autopilot for electric vehicles. Also visit our guide to learn how Electric Driver can help you find the right electric vehicle.
The United Nations published the Sixth Assessment Report on the climate by the International Panel on Climate Change[^1] . The report described a code red for humanity and that there is no going back[^2] . Unless society can reduce its carbon emissions to zero, the extreme weather humanity has been experiencing the past few years will continue to intensify. This report serves as a call to action for each of us to take responsibility and enact changes. So the questions become what I can do to help stop climate change?
Use a Carbon Emissions Calculator
Just like counting calories or using a step-counter helps you make better choices, the same goes with emissions. Use a carbon emissions calculator to learn what your carbon footprint looks like and take steps to curb your emissions. According to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, the average American household generates 48 tons of carbon emissions per year[^3] . Two good carbon footprint calculators are from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the Nature Conservatory.
Eat a Plant-Based Diet
Food makes up 10 to 30 percent[^3] of the average household carbon emissions. Eating meat is one of the highest emission-creating foods at 6.61 pounds[^3] of emissions for a single serving. In comparison, eating vegetables, rice, and legumes create less the .16 pounds of carbon emissions per serving. Eating a plant-based diet can dramatically cut your carbon footprint. Even switching to one vegetarian meal per week is the equivalent of not driving 1.160 miles[^4].
Switch to Solar Power
25% of all carbon emissions come from electricity[^5]. The average kilowatt of electricity generated in the United States of America creates .953 pounds of carbon emissions. Solar, wind, and hydropower produce no emissions and are a great way to reduce carbon emissions. Converting your home to an all-electric home using roof-mounted solar panels is a great way to cut your carbon emissions. Also, converting all your appliances and water heaters from gas to electric can make a big difference.
Till January 1, 2023, you can get a 26% Federal tax credit[^9] on the cost of a new solar system and cut your carbon emissions in the process. Sun Power or Tesla are both excellent options and provide free estimates.
Switch from Gas to an Electric Car
Transportation makes up 29%[^5] of total carbon emissions, with passenger cars making up 41%[^3]. Switching from a gas to an electric vehicle is a great way to help stop climate change. Electric Driver can show you how an electric car can reduce your carbon emissions and save you time and money in the process. Beyond electric vehicles, stop flying, walk more and use a bike when possible. Each decision can help make a difference in the fight to get carbon emissions down to zero.
Get the Most Out of Your Things
According to the Journal of Industrial Ecology, all the stuff we own contributes 60%[^6] of all global greenhouse gases. Try to squeeze the most life out of all the things you own. When you decide to buy something, educate yourself. Try to buy things that were responsibly made. Look at how much carbon emissions were made in the production of the product. Vote with your money.
Invest in Sustainable Businesses
Vote with your money to bring about change. Buy from companies that make the right choices and work to cut emissions and operate in an environmentally responsible fashion. For example, most of us have our retirement tied to the stock market. So look into the businesses in your portfolio and invest in companies that bring about positive environmental change. Move your money away from companies that pollute and cause ecological harm.
Cut Plastics Out of Your Life
Plastics are made of oil which is a fossil fuel. Using plastics fills up our landfills and encourages oil production. According to the Center for Environmental Law, if we continue to use plastics at our current rate by 2030, plastics will generate 1.34 gigatons[^7] of emissions annually. For example, 1.34 gigatons of carbon emissions are equivalent to 295 500 megaton coal plants. Being mindful and eliminating single-use plastics can help curb carbon emissions.
Trees can help capture carbon, and we should each take it upon ourselves to plant more trees. An international research team, led by Jean-Francois Bastin of ETH-Zurich in Switzerland, determined if we could plant another half a trillion trees, we could reduce global carbon emissions by 25%[^8]. Therefore, planting more trees at home
is another measure to help stop climate.
Awareness and education will go a long way in making better decisions regarding your carbon footprint. An easy way to get up to speed on climate education is to sign-up for a free course online. Ed-X has free online courses from universities around the course you can take to get up to speed. To sum up, educating yourself is a crucial step to making better choices in helping combat climate change.
[^1]: “Ar6 Climate Change 2021:the Physical Science Basis.” Sixth Assessment Report, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/.
[^4]: Weber , Christopher L, and Scott H. Matthews. “Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States.” ACS Publications, Environmental Science & Technology, www.pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/es702969f.