The race is on to get more electric cars on the road. President Joe Biden has made electric vehicles (EVs) a priority. By 2030, he’d like half of all new vehicles sold to be zero-emission. It’s a response to the climate crisis. Currently, the United States is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. And more than a quarter of the country’s emissions come from gasoline-burning vehicles.
But according to a 2021 survey by Pew Research Center, more than half of U.S. adults don’t want gasoline cars to be phased out. They say EVs are expensive and charging them is a hassle. For now, most people plan to stick with gas-powered vehicles. We asked TFK readers what they think about EVs.
Princia Zhou, 9
Chino Hills, California
In my opinion, we should all have electric cars. Our gas cars burn fossil fuels, which are limited resources. These fuels cannot be regenerated. Using them is unsustainable.
But the electricity powering EVs can be generated from renewable energy sources. These include solar and wind power. Think about it: Transportation causes 21% of global carbon-dioxide emissions. That’s a huge factor in climate change. Driving EVs could eliminate that. The switch needs to happen soon. Not only to protect the environment, but so we kids can have a brighter and cleaner future.
Kieran Siller, 10
New York, New York
Electric vehicles pollute the planet just as much as, if not more than, gas cars. Think of when you’re charging an EV. That power is coming from a power plant, which burns fossil fuels and pollutes the planet. More electric cars just means more charging. We’d need to build more power plants.
And mining for the elements needed to build EV batteries creates a ton of pollution. If automakers produce all-electric cars, they’ll mine for the elements more often. The switch to EVs could destroy the planet. A lot of things are like this. It’s not always black-and-white. Both electric and gasoline cars hurt the planet.
Henry Hut-Davis, 10
Electric cars are better for the environment. They don’t burn fossil fuels and release toxic fumes into the air. Some people think electric cars are pricey. But their prices are coming down. Some cost around $30,000. That’s cheaper than many gas-powered cars. Plus, the cost of gas can add a lot to the price of a regular car, and once you use the gas, it’s gone. You can’t recycle it the way you can a battery.
Anyway, I think we’re going to run out of gas at some point. This will make EVs a necessity. Finally, many EVs are smaller and easier to park. That’s why I think all cars of the future should be electric.
Sydney Geiger, 11
Morris Plains, New Jersey
I don’t think all cars should be electric. First of all, charging stations are less common than gas stations. This makes electric cars a lot less convenient for long trips. And cold weather slows the chemical reactions that make the batteries work.
Electric cars are also more expensive than regular cars. On average, a new EV costs around $11,000 more than a new gas car. And while they have no tailpipe emissions, electric cars do have an environmental cost. Their batteries are made with rare metals found at the bottom of the sea. Mining these metals is harmful to marine life.
Callaway Kershaw, 11
I think we should all have electric cars. This would decrease air pollution and allow us to breathe better. Cleaner air also means there will be fewer animals dying. Think of all the species we have lost by destroying our environment.
If the world could be a better, cleaner place, it would be worth the expense of electric cars. Some electric cars are more expensive. But they need less maintenance than gas-powered cars. So the costs start to even out. Also, did you know that electric cars can travel 33 miles for about a dollar? You can’t say that for gas. All cars should be electric!
Alison Lee, 9
Los Angeles, California
It’s way too early to go all-electric. True, electric cars help slow climate change. But batteries also affect the environment. Throwing them away can damage an ecosystem. And the materials needed to make batteries are scarce.
The lack of charging stations is an obstacle too. There aren’t enough of them. On a long-distance trip last year, my family’s gas-powered car got us to our destination in eight hours. It took another family longer, because they had to stop to charge their electric car. I’m not saying we should never go electric, just that now is not the time.
*Submissions have been edited only for length and clarity. They are not intended to reflect the views of TIME for Kids. Ages are accurate as of the time of submission.
This is our last debate of the school year. Are there questions you’d like to debate in the fall? Email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.