Earth Week Part 2: Gas Guzzlers to Electric Marvels 🌎
Bethany Van Delft 0:04
Hey, Ryan, I believe you're like 39 minutes late to work. Is everything okay?
Ryan Willard 0:10
No, I had to walk 17 miles to work today because gas prices are so ridiculous. They're getting higher than my mom on a trampoline.
Bethany Van Delft 0:18
Well, it is Earth Week. So I think it's pretty cool that you walk to work instead of driving. Wait.
Ryan Willard 0:24
So, I'm not in trouble for being late?
Bethany Van Delft 0:26
No, of course, you're not in trouble. But you're not allowed to screentime for two hours.
Ryan Willard 0:30
What? Come on...
Bethany Van Delft 0:32
We need your full attention, right? Because today we're going into high gas prices and the cool tech changing our driving future. I'm Bethany Van Delft. It's Thursday, April 21st. We're celebrating Earth Week and this is the Ten News.
Various Voices 0:50
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Bethany Van Delft 0:58
Have you heard your grownups talking about the high price of gas? Why is it so high and does it have anything to do with Russia or President Biden? It turns out there are several reasons why our gas prices are so high. The first thing to know is that gasoline and diesel which most cars trucks and airplanes use come from crude oil that's mined from the earth. Oil is a fossil fuel that creates carbon dioxide when it burns. That means gasoline and diesel contribute to climate change. Back to the high price tag. Russia produces between nine to 10 million barrels a day of crude oil, while President Biden imposed a ban on Russian oil imports to the US. It's severely more impactful in Europe and China, which use much more Russian oil than the US and pay up to 60 times what we do for Wow. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, oil production and exports in Russia, one of the biggest oil producers on Earth slow down. Europe is at a very cold winter. So the need and demand for heat have driven the price of oil up. Europe needs Russian oil. So the war in Ukraine means higher gas prices in Europe. And since oil is traded globally, it affects the whole world's gas prices. Another reason gas prices are high here in the US is that taxes on gas and diesel are higher. The high taxes are because lawmakers want people to use public transit or switch to electric vehicles to help the environment. Each state decides its own carbon tax. For example, California has the highest taxes on gasoline, higher taxes mean higher prices at the pump. As a result, California has the highest gas and diesel prices we've ever seen. While gas prices are sky-high. The good news is that air quality in California is much cleaner, a definite silver lining. Great job. And what about the question if President Biden is to blame? Not really, he did ban Russian oil, but the US barely uses Russian oil anyway, he also shut down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But that was a pipeline to send oil to other nations. In fact, US production and supply of oil is actually going to be very high this year, even without the Keystone XL Pipeline. The most important thing to remember is that the US president does not choose the price of gas. It's actually the oil companies like Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Chevron who choose the price of gas. And that price is based on their own costs and what their profits will be. We don't know how long these high prices will last. But we do know one of the biggest factors in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. When Russia finally retreats and the sanctions are lifted, we might see the prices go back down again. Now that you know why gas prices are so high, let's deep dive into one of the best alternatives to gas-powered cars. Ten News correspondent Max Wolfson is here to tell us about an option that might stop the grownups complaining and help the environment.
Max Wolfson 4:10
Way, way back in the 1700ss founding father Benjamin Franklin tied a key to a kite during a thunderstorm to prove the connection between electricity and lightning. Once his experiment was over, Franklin rode home on his horse. over 200 years later, Americans can now drive themselves home, not only without a horse but with cars powered by the very electricity from his experiment. Electric vehicles or EVs, is any car that uses stored battery power instead of a gas-powered engine. Wait, do we mean Evie? Like the Pokemon? Oh, I get an EV for electric vehicles. It's just the initials Okay. EVs eliminate the pollution and greenhouse gases that come from traditional cars because they use electricity instead of gasoline or fossil fuels. Even though electric cars are full of futuristic technology, the idea of using electric City to drive goes back a very long time. The first electric car was invented way back in 1881 by a French watchmaker named Gustavo Trouve. A, I don't know how you get from watchmaking to carmaking, but good for him. And how long ago was that? It's basically the same time that the telephone was invented. Fast forward to 2022, and this year, there will be more than 20 million electric cars on the road. That's a world record. It doesn't even count hybrid cars either. Those are the kinds that have electric and gas-powered engines. The modern push for electric cars can be traced back to the 1990s when the California Air Resources Board, that's a mouthful, began to push for more fuel-efficient vehicles, in part to protect the environment and prevent climate change. However, electric cars didn't really start to become popular until 2008. One big change was longer-lasting batteries that let people travel further, it makes a huge difference if you can drive your car without worrying about running out of juice in the middle of the road. I know it wouldn't be fun to play my Nintendo Switch if it only worked for one minute before I had to plug it back in. In fact, electric cars use the exact same kind of battery found in phones, tablets, and other devices. It's just a lot bigger. These lithium-ion batteries can do a lot. They even power NASA's Mars rover cool. Back here on Earth. More and more people are getting interested in electric cars, especially as gas prices rise, march 2022 saw the most Google searches related to electric cars ever. That's another record. A big limit on the use of electric cars is building the places to charge them. More cars need more places to charge. And right now there are pretty few places for electric car owners to do so without anywhere to charge you might end up stuck halfway to grandma's house and then just have to walk the rest of the way. Are we there yet? No. People are working to make sure there are enough places to charge your EV in the future. President Biden's infrastructure plan put $7.5 billion with a B towards building up America's public charging network. Experts say that in the future, you might treat your car just like your phone, plugging it in to charge while you go to the mall or check out a movie. Ultimately, the success of electric cars will depend on how reliable and useful they are to the average person. And that's pretty important because stopping pollution from cars is one of the best things we can do for the environment and the climate. With the right steps, the United States can create a network that makes EVs easy to charge, easy to use and help save the planet in the process. That's a win win-win. We've come a long way from flying kites in a thunderstorm to electricity powering some of the coolest high-tech cars on the road.
Bethany Van Delft 7:37
Thanks, Max. Now you got me all charged up and wanting to save to get an electric vehicle. Hey, Tessa, do you have a fun fact or tidbit for Earth Week?
Tessa Flannery 7:48
Oh, you know I do, Bethany. One of the things people worry about with switching to clean energy is oil, coal, and gas workers losing their jobs. But this fun fact might just change your mind about that. For every one job in coal and gas mining. There are five jobs in clean energy. That means many more local people will be employed as cities, states, and the whole nation transition to clean energy.
Bethany Van Delft 8:13
Oh, that's a great one. Thanks, Tessa. Now let's go to the Ten News head writer for your rundown, Ryan?
Ryan Willard 8:24
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Russia has begun its invasion of the Donbas region of Ukraine an area in the southeastern part of the country, while Russian forces have pulled back from Kyiv. The Ukrainian capital their latest moves attacking dumb boss kick off a new phase of the war. Zelensky is vowed to continue to defend the country and last week President Biden authorized $800 million in additional military aid to support Ukraine's efforts. The US mask mandate on public transportation has been dropped. A federal judge in Florida ruled on Monday that the federal government did not have the authority to enact a mask mandate essentially overturning the mandates that have been in place for Delta, American United southwest Alaska JetBlue, and Spirit Airlines as well as Amtrak trains immediately relaxed their mask restrictions for travelers. Though masks are now optional. We encourage you to check with the grown-up on your local rules and do what feels right for your family. To the gorilla turns 65 years old a female western lowland gorilla is believed to be the oldest gorilla in the world and celebrated her 65th birthday at the Berlin Zoo. His birthday is very special to her and she was given a birthday cake with fruits and berries forming the number 65. The Guinness World Records named two the oldest living gorilla in captivity after the passing of Trudy, a gorilla born in 1956. I'm Ryan Willard, that's a rundown. Back to you, Bethany.
Bethany Van Delft 10:00
Put on your thinking caps. It's time for a trivia question.
Various Voices 10:03
What, what, what's the big idea?
Bethany Van Delft 10:06
Trivia on the Ten. What's the number one way you can save energy at home? Is it a) turn off lights during the day b) take a shorter shower or c) unplug chargers? Did you guess it? The answer is a) turn off the lights during the day. While it is important and good for the Earth to take shorter showers, as well as unplug chargers when they're not in use, turning off the lights when you don't need them is the best way to save energy. Leaving a regular light bulb on for just one extra hour uses .04 kilowatts of energy. Now that doesn't sound like much. But it would take grownups two and a half days on a bike to create the same amount of energy. So, please don't forget to hit that switch when you leave a room. The Earth will thank you. That's what we've got for today. But before we go, here's a quick note for the grownups. Thanks for listening to the Ten News. Look out for our new episodes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and extras on Saturdays. The Ten News is a coproduction of Small But Mighty Media and Next Chapter Podcasts and is distributed by iHeartRadio. The Ten News creative team is soaking in the sun and storing solar power and includes Tracey crooks, Pete Musto, Ryan Willard, Adam Barnard, and Tessa Flannery. Max Wolfson contributed to this episode. Our production director is Jeremiah Tittle and our executive producers are Donald Albright and show creator Tracy Leeds Kaplan. I'm Bethany Van Delft, and thanks for listening to the Ten News. Holy guacamole, two and a half hours of bike riding to get one hour of light bulb light. Oh my goodness, I'm turning off all the lights that one, and that one, and that one and that one and that one and I'm going to turn off this.