Definition Rewrite- imgoingswimming

Tailpipe Emissions from Electric Vehicles

Electric cars have always come in and out of popularity since their creation. In 1900 they were popular as they were 28% of all cars created at that time says the American Census from 1905. As we have become more concerned over our environmental impact on our earth we have tried to find what we can do to save our planet. The newest and most promising way to help save the environment is by bringing back these electric cars. With current technology these cars have advanced to now become better in many ways than traditional gas or diesel powered vehicles. The downsides is that these electric cars still find ways to run on gas, diesel, and even coal just as electric cars did over one hundred years ago. While many believe that these electric cars are going to save the earth we tend not to focus on the dirty side of clean energy. 

We have come to the conclusion that electric cars are going to save us even though this isn’t exactly correct yet. We have focused on eliminating gasoline cars instead of cleaning our energy. Coultura is an organization that’s target is to have a gasoline free America and has documents all of the states and countries playing to go electric with their vehicles. According to Coultura, nine of the fifty states in the US and even some countries around the globe are making plans to phase out gas powered cars. Some have even passed legislation to ban the selling of new gasoline powered cars by certain dates. New Jersey is an example of this as legislation has been made to ban the selling of new gas powered cars by 2040. Most countries are just making plans on the matter, while Ireland has started to propose legislation to do this by 2030. Norway is ahead of this as they plan on banning new electric cars by 2025 as already 60% of their vehicles are already electric. Iceland’s plan is to do this by 2030, but also plans to eliminate half of its gas stations by 2025. This should be good steps to help the environment but while patting ourselves on the back we have completely shifted our focus in the wrong direction.  The only downside of patting ourselves on the back for these large leaps is that we don’t see the way in which electricity is produced. 

In the United States we tend to believe that our electricity comes from clean sources, but most of it does not. Electric cars are powered by coal and natural gases which are fossil fuels. This produced the exact opposite result that we are trying to achieve, the only difference is that it does not produce direct tailpipe emissions. The percentages of electricity usage in the United States can be found in documents by the US Energy Administration. According to the US Energy Administration, In the United States the total electricity produced is only made up of 17% renewable resources such as hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, wind, and solar. The rest is 20% nuclear, 23% coal, and 38% natural gases. Less than 1% of the energy was produced with petroleum. Cars then run on almost a quarter coal does not seem like the future, but they would be if this were to change. 

Coal has been a source of energy since the late 1880s and still to this day has been an extremely large source of the world’s energy. Coal has extreme downsides that can not be overlooked especially because it is being used so much to produce energy. According to the US Energy Administration coal causes many sources of pollution such as emitting sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and even mercury and heavy metals. What some of these chemicals do is sulfur dioxide causes acid rain and nitrogen oxides cause smog and lung illnesses. This means that coal isn’t just bad for the environment but also bad for our health. This is why coal is the most dangerous of all of the ways to produce electricity and also the most concerning because many countries still continue to use it despite the environmental and health effects.

Our Usage of coal has thankfully decreased since about 2008 when our usage of coal was at its highest but our usage of natural gas has just taken its place as its use in the production of energy has increased. The amount of electricity produced with coal in 2008 went from 1,986 billion kilowatt hours to 996 billion kilowatt hours in 2019. The usage of renewable energy has been growing since the early 1950s, and the different kinds and effectiveness of renewable energy has also grown. Solar and wind power have skyrocketed in popularity since the early 2000s. This has been good results from the United States but still not enough to call electric cars clean energy, rather it is dirty energy.

China is one of the worst examples of how these cars will run on dirty energy. While China has not made any plans yet Hong Kong specifically has plans to get rid of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles by 2030 or 2040 says Coltura. According to the US Energy Administration, while an electric car in the United States would run on 23% coal, a car in China would run on 58% coal. China electricity also runs on 20% petroleum and other liquids, 8% natural gas, 8% hydroelectricity, 2% nuclear, and 5% other renewable resources. This means that electric cars actually run on 78% coal and fuel in China. This means that electric cars are actually more inefficient in China than almost anywhere else in the world apart from India whose coal usage is 74% of there electricity production. China is the largest energy consumer and producer in the world and has the fastest growing population. This means that China is creating a large amount of pollution through their energy which many believe to be clean.

Reaching our goals by 2035 are far out of reach, but this does not mean that we will not see electric vehicles running on clean energy within the next 30 years. The amount of coal used can be cut down and almost eliminated as we see from exemplary countries such as Norway, but this may take until 2050 for the United States. Norway’s energy sources were 97% renewable resources in 2011, and in 2019, 93.4% of all of its energy comes from just hydroelectric alone. In Norway 60% of all cars are electric and they run on some of the cleanest energy that can be found. Norway is the best example of a completely clean system of energy production to use that can and should be followed across the world.


Gasoline Phaseouts Around The World. (n.d.). Coltura – Moving beyond Gasoline. Retrieved March 29, 2021.

Hydroelectric battery of the north. (2012, October 5). Nordic Energy Research. Retrieved March 29, 2021.

Commerford, T. M. C. (1905)Electrical Apparatuses and Supplies.. US Census Bereau, Retrieved March 29 2021.

Coal and the environment – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). (n.d.). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 29, 2021.

Electricity in the U.S..- U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). (n.d.). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 29, 2021.

International China- U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).(n.d.). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved April 3, 2021.

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9 Responses to Definition Rewrite- imgoingswimming

  1. davidbdale says:

    Good to see your Definition Argument here, Swimming.
    References in the world of long urls is pretty messy. I altered the Reference Note for the second article from the EIA to eliminate the 3-line url. I copied the link to my clipboard and linked it to the short title “Electricity in the US.” You can do the same without having to build new shortened or links.


  2. davidbdale says:

    Couple things about your Introduction.
    —First, it contains lots of good information and a couple of surprises for most readers. That 28% of America’s cars were electric in the early 1900s is remarkable. Don’t waste that. That electric cars “find a way to run on coal” will seem completely unbelievable to most of your readers. Don’t waste that.
    —Second, it doesn’t establish a clear Thesis for your 1000-word argument. Your title is neutral. It might promise that Electric Cars are indeed Friendly. But it might also suggest you’re out to myth-bust. After reading your entire paragraph, I still don’t know, and that’s a problem.

    Your paper here will probably be nuanced. YES the cars are friendly on emissions, but NO they’re not slam-dunk better unless the electricity they burn is also friendly. If that’s your message, be sure your readers know it or they’ll quit reading a paper that doesn’t have a position to promote.

    Do you want help on how to make the best rhetorical use of those surprising details? I’m itching to rewrite the intro for you, but that’s not always the best instructional technique. You should have a chance to show what you can do.


  3. davidbdale says:

    Your second paragraph, like your first, contains lots of useful information, Swimming, and I get the overall sense of the point you’re making, but the “gains” you herald are all in the “planning” stage. Readers get the wrong impression that you’re impressed with the “intentions” exhibited. You could make clearer that TWO things are wrong with our current situation. 1) We’re giving ourselves credit for making promises, and 2) We’re focusing solely on eliminating gasoline, while we should be concentrating on how to deliver all that NEW demand for electricity.

    That would cast your data into a new light, the real light I think you intend.


  4. davidbdale says:

    In paragraph 3, it’s good to instruct readers that they have a misconception about America’s energy sources. I think you have the emphasis backwards. Instead of leading with the statistic about how much electricity is sustainable, lump together all the sources that are NOT. Be sure to identify “natural gas” as a fossil fuel just like petroleum and coal. Remind readers that the goal of the electric car is two-fold. Reduce exhaust-pipe emissions AND reduce our use of fossil fuels. So far, they accomplish just one of those goals.


  5. davidbdale says:

    Paragraph 4 does contain good news, but the reduction in the use of coal has been accomplished almost completely by a corresponding increase in the use of natural gas. We’re only trading one fossil fuel for another. And the catastrophic damages caused by fracking are just as disturbing as coal soot and smokestack emissions and black lung disease.


  6. davidbdale says:

    Your fifth paragraph is a good place to boldly pronounce your other major claim: that your electric car is either clean or filthy depending on WHERE you drive.


  7. davidbdale says:

    Your Conclusion is actually two paragraphs, one about coal, and the other about PLACES IN THE WORLD WHERE YOUR ELECTRIC CAR IS ACTUALLY DELIVERING ON ITS PROMISE.

    The coal paragraph needs to be positioned earlier in your essay, about where your reader starts to think, “Why is this author so insistent on reminding me my car might run on coal?” Remember your job as the server in the fine dining restaurant. Pay attention to your tables. Visit often, anticipate their needs, notice when they need wine or water or another bread basket. Timing is everything in the effective delivery of information.

    Overall I’m delighted with your massing of evidence for a first draft, Swimming. You’ve produced a good example of how to get started on a 1000-word argument. Remember though, grades are assigned to your work AS IF IT WERE ALREADY IN YOUR PORTFOLIO, a much higher standard than grading a first draft. Don’t rest on this good work. Get in there and make substantial improvements to earn a Regrade.

    And keep the conversation going. I’m very liberal with my time and feedback for students who respond, and I quickly learn to ignore those who prefer to be left alone.


  8. davidbdale says:

    Not Resources. References. See Causal Rewrite.


  9. davidbdale says:

    Post has been Regraded.


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