Friday, October 27, 2017

When Numbers Lie

Perhaps - but probably not - you saw this brief article in El Tiempo recently:

Under the headline 'Ecological Vehicles Improve their Position,' the article boasts that the registration of electric and hybrid vehicles shot up in September by 26.3%. The writer doesn't seem to know basic math, since the previous months fewer than half such vehicles were registered, meaning that September actually saw a registration leap of way over 200%.

Potential relief for our lungs from Bogotá's polluted air? Don't be so hopeful.
'October started badly for car sales.'

Translated into absolute numbers, in September only 24 'green' vehicles were registered, and 9 and 11 in July and August. Those numbers are so measly as to be insignificant.

After all, in the first half of October, 7,260 new vehicles were registered in Colombia, a number which the national retailers federation, Fenalco, called 'disappointing.'

At that rate, in a good month for 'ecological' vehicles and a 'bad' one for sales of conventional, smog-belching ones, the so-called 'green' vehicles accounted for only a little more than one tenth of one percent of all car sales.

(It's also worth recalling that, depending on the materials used to build them, particularly the battery, electrical vehicles can produce lots of environmental impact.)

Incomprehensibly, the government has even placed quotas on the number of ecological vehicles which can be imported each year, at about 5,000 annually thru 2027. I doubt they limit imports of conventional gas guzzlers. Of course, at the rate they're going, the imports will never come close to that number. E-vehicles are more expensive than conventional ones (altho less expensive to operate), environmental values here don't seem very strong, and Bogotá has few vehicle charging stations - and in fact removed some of them recently.

A Renault Twizy electric car in north Bogota, alongside a truly ecological vehicle.
Colombia provides some tax and import-duty benefits for importers and buyers of electric vehicles, but they obviously are not enough. And until the government gets serious, mostly by raising the price of gasoline, don't expect any real change.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

No comments: