Echoing Climate Deniers, Washington Post Op-ed Imagines Electric Cars Stuck in Snow Instead of Gas Ones

In his recent column, Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane entertained a debunked rightwing meme when he envisioned a recent traffic disaster worsened by snow outside D.C. with electric vehicles rather than gas-powered ones.
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Echoing Climate Deniers, Washington Post Op-ed Imagines Electric Cars Stuck in Snow Instead of Gas Ones
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Originally published by ClimateDenierRoundup on Daily Kos.

No one wants to get stuck in traffic. Or in the snow. Getting stuck in an all-day traffic jam because it snowed, well, that’s pretty much the worst. And that’s exactly what happened in Virginia this week, when hundreds of drivers spent all day stuck on the highway after a severe snowstorm turned a jackknifed semi from a relatively routine highway occurrence to a major SNAFU.

Fortunately, everyone was okay. But imagine if they weren’t! Wouldn’t that have been terrible! Imagine if zombies had attacked while they were stranded, or if a horde of chuds emerged from the frozen sewers to convert everyone to Scientology, or, and this may be worst of all …

What if the cars stuck in the snow were all electric???

Everyone would surely be dead, or something!

At least that’s what the Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane is scared of, judging by a column on Tuesday that turned a rightwing meme into his weekly column. “Imagine Virginia’s icy traffic catastrophe – but with only electric vehicles,” implores the headline, as though the issue here were a lack of access to electricity and not, you know, an overturned semi and snowfall that prevented emergency responders from doing their jobs.

The basis for his scary story? A trucker tweeted that he gave someone “driving a Tesla” some water and blankets. Apparently this anecdote “illustrates an important point: If everyone had been driving electric vehicles, this mess could well have been worse.”

Except, of course, that’s not true at all. As both Reuters and Politifact pointed out last year when rightwing shitposters pushed the same scare story, EVs are fine when stuck in traffic jams because sitting there doesn’t run down the battery. (And a reply to the trucker that Lane must have missed linked to a video showing a fully charged EV keeping warm for 70 hours at -3C.)

Idling your gas car does burn fuel though, something that even Lane acknowledged, writing that “of course, cold also affects the performance of gas-powered vehicles; many were left stranded in Virginia after they ran out of fuel or their batteries died.”

Oh!

Nevertheless, Lane used the Tesla driver for his clever kicker complaining that EVs aren’t already cheaper, easier and better than gas cars, saying that like that driver “on I-95 in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, we’re not there yet.”

Except the Tesla family probably drove off fine, but a bunch of people who didn’t have electric vehicles were stuck, by Lane’s own accounting!

Still though, apparently old cars have the advantage because it’s easier to deliver gas to stranded motorists than charge an EV. But that’s only because gas is currently the norm! Can you imagine if the situation were reversed, and gas cars were replacing electric cars?

How would you possibly convince people that toting around gallons of liquid explosives is the safe and easy alternative to a battery or extension cord?

More realistically though, why is the Washington Post publishing this kind of nonsense? Do they really think that double-fact-checked memes are the sort of content deserving of their pages? Worse, are they aware that they’re offering the exact same sort of content as climate denial blogs?

Watts Up With That ran a functionally identical post asking readers to “imagine you were stuck in an EV,” and the professional industrial disinformation peddlers at CFACT, who also are just begging people to ignore that it’s gas cars that got stuck and instead “imagine electric vehicles in bad weather.”

And of course, for the coup de grace, you know you’ve gotten something badly wrong when it’s approvingly tweeted by Steve Milloy from his “@Junkscience” account, a handle that originates in his work for Big Tobacco to oppose regulations on smoking in the ‘90s.

Imagine adopting “Democracy dies in darkness” as a motto, and then running opinions echoing those who’ve dedicated their lives to blowing smoke – literally.

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