A petition to ban internal combustion engine personal vehicles

A petition to ban internal combustion engine personal vehicles

Let's start a petition to ban personal vehicles that use internal combustion engines! I know, this sounds like an exercise in futility but hear me out. If the situation were reversed and evs were the dominant mode of transportation and ice vehicles were just now being introduced, they would be a non-starter. From safety considerations alone ice cars would be banned with the first explosions of the 10-20 gallons of explosive liquids they need to carry just to get from point A to point B. The car manufacturers have done an admirable job reducing visible emissions that gunk up the air, but the laws of physics will not allow the majority of emissions, CO2, to be reduced to an acceptable point. Does it matter if we make cafe standards 50mpg if at the same time there are double the number of vehicles, after all, people in China and India will be buying cars at a higher rate commensurate with their economic advancement. And let's not forget the oil spills and pipeline leaks that are unavoidable when so much liquid needs to be pumped and transported. The US involvement in overseas wars would end when the liquid we fight for so desperately becomes worthless and unnecessary.
A ban on ice cars would not begin immediately but would be a road map to the future. Due to the performance and functionality of the model s, critics can no longer argue that alternatives are not practical or desirable. Tesla has made the technology readily available so other car companies can catch up quickly. If a ban on these toxic and dangerous ice cars were to ramp up to a complete ban in 20 years you would see gigafactories springing up like oil refineries now, of which there are 150 in the us. In fact, this would be a valid way for oil companies to transition to a new economy. If they are truly energy companies, then big oil should be encouraged to develop the gigafactories. Five billion dollars per factory is mere pocket change to them. There would be no reason to do any more drilling, we have enough oil wells for the transition.
A petition to ban ice vehicles would serve notice on all of the Powers That Be that the future will be different and they can either participate or fade away.

tes-s | July 9, 2014

I like the idea! I don't give it much (any?) chance of success, but I still support it.

Fortunately, even if the ban is not successful, I think the ICE will go away because the EV is simply better.

bonaire | July 9, 2014

Want to ban ICE vehicles? Triple the price of fuel and use the taxation revenues to fund R&D into new tech. That also collapses economies, so be careful out there. It has to happen through evolution and not be forced. We don't want to see the EV movement turn into some sort of totally antagonistic movement that the majority of people start calling whackos. It should be welcomed through the natural evolution of free markets.

johncrab | July 9, 2014

I think in time this will happen on its own. The oil industry will fight tooth and nail to keep us locked into burning oil as they raise the price but the EV will win out.

Years ago I read in The Economist that the biggest challenge for EV car makers was to differentiate their products because the drivetrain is inherently simple and that they were all basically alike. This statement reflected the mind set of the traditional auto industry which was (and still is) hell-bent on making glorified golf carts. How does one differentiate a car with no range, no power, high price, no real style appeal? You can't.

That's where Tesla stood the industry on its head. They thought about building the best car and then making it electric rather than the other way around. BMW has proved with the i3 that nothing in the auto world's thinking has changed. Oh, you need to go more than 40 miles, here is a "range extender" with a 2 gallon tank to let you putt-putt down the freeway at 45mph while negating the whole purpose of an EV. On the good side, if you need to make a panic stop, just hit the brake and turn on the AC at the same time.

johnglenney12356 | July 9, 2014

I agree that in the short term this proposal has no chance. In addition, there is also no chance that the government, state or federal, would make such a proposal, it would be political suicide, after all they are oil company employees. But if such a petition could gain traction, even a little, it would start people thinking, after initially dismissing it as nonsense, that in fact not only is this possible, but it would be good for the planet, for people's health and safety, and for the economy. After all, a change in mindset is needed before anything else.

SamO | July 9, 2014


carlk | July 9, 2014

I totally like your idea. Someone was trying to defend ICE on this forum a few days ago saying how would we commute in the last 100 years if there were no such thing as ICE. The answer is subways and buses just like most people in Paris, NYC or San Francisco do. Our infrastractures will be built a lot different, and likely even better than what we have in those densely populated cities today, if there were never the ICE automobile.

negarholger | July 9, 2014

Look to Europe... 200 cities have LEZ ( low emission zone ) - stinkers are banned. Noise makers are under discussion. Manny cities have pedestrian only areas. Imaging San Francisco without cars...
It doesn't have to be a general ban, just make it on local level.

mrspaghetti | July 9, 2014

We didn't need to ban VCRs or 8-track tapes, people just stopped buying them when there was something clearly better. The same process applies here, no need to ban stuff.

Grinnin'.VA | July 9, 2014



renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

mrspaghetti. Your comparisons are not quite valid, we did ban CFCs, DDT, tetraethyl lead in gasoline and a lot more chemicals and devices which we deemed to be dangerous and not in the public interest. VCRs and 8-tracks are not quite in the same catagory.

Captain_Zap | July 9, 2014

I'll sign a petition to get a dialog started. It would certainly get attention

Some people never change or even start to think until they are nudged outside of their comfort zone. It could be the loss of time, money, or routine that can cause the discomfort. Sometimes the mere thought of any change causes enough discomfort for some.

The petition should exclude certain passenger vehicles though. Boats and rockets, for example.

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

We have mandated many things automotive, from mandatory seat belts to fleet minimum mpg. It could happen that we mandate all automobiles be electric powered or at least Zero emissions, by 2025 and leave it up to the manufacturers to comply. Somehow, they always do.

Captain_Zap | July 9, 2014

We even had to have a mandate to get minimum passenger safety requirements in pickup trucks and SUVs. Manufacturers complained and protested about the cost of the requirements for more than decade.

Finally, in 2000, when the cut off date hit and all pickups and SUVs finally had to meet passenger vehicle safety standards, their sales soared. That is why you see so many trucks on SUVs on the road today.

The manufacturers didn't even realize what was good for themselves until they were forced to finally change.

jjs | July 9, 2014

Why engage in a battle that is clearly being won? Gen III changes all of this. Very few will want an ICE vehicle once they are out. Competition will ensue. ICE will end frozen in time.

Elon/Tesla have taken the high road in this war. Let's do the same. Let people embrace the change not have it forced down their throats. We have nothing left to do but to see which car manufactures win the Darwin award.

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

jjs. EM released the patents so other manufacturers would apply their resources to the problem. So far, no takers. The simple explanation is that until forced to, even in their own self-interest, auto manufacturers have chosen to ignore what the problems have been and are. If the entire manufacturing sector was devoted to this problem, results would happen far faster.

Eletrek | July 9, 2014

Makes no sense at this point in time and makes propoents look like idiot tree hugger zealots who ignore reality.

To begin with, at this point in time there isn't an infastructure to support a large number of electric vehicles and to argue otherwise makes its supporters look unrealistic and foolish.

We must eat the elephant one bite at a time. The first real bite was the Tesla Models S which has created a fundamental change in consumers and automakers view of EVs. The second real bite will be the elimination of range anxiety with the build-out of the Supercharger network and/or improvements in battery technology. The third significant bite will be the production and sales of an affordable Tesla for the mass market.

Let's not confuse people with some silly petition like suggested above which could overshadow the real progress made by Elon and Tesla over the past 2 years.

jjs | July 9, 2014

+1 Eletrek

@renwo S alseT - The reasons for not engaging have nothing to do with the reaction of the current auto manufacturing establishment. They have to do with world wide battery capacity. This has to be ramped up first.

In my opinion the fastest way to do this to create demand. Not policy. Auto manufacturers will react to financial pressure, pressure the market can apply much more effectively than policy.

As Eletrek alluded to above. It is not in anyone's best interest to engage in zealot like behavior. The war is being won. Grin!

bobrobert | July 9, 2014

Your goal is lofty but the petition method doesn't have a chance. If the hope is to actually get such a regulation, imagine the battle against dealership lobbies multiplied by thousands. If the intent is simply a symbol directed at ICE, oil, & supporting industries, it's unlikely that either CEOs or shareholders will have the least interest in the huge retooling necessary, and for a market that's hardly sold on EVs.
Who other than Model S & Model X owners/reservationists will sign? Nothing to lose for us. But the huge majority will surely think the petition asks them to price themselves out of the market for a car, no matter the good of controlling emissions. Idealism vs. affordability.
If you could get a petition widely published, it would have a polarizing effect on an already growing conflict between ICE's and EVs. Consider the current phenomena of “Rolling Coal” drivers smoking “Rice Burner” hybrids. The petition would only add diesel fuel to the fire, adding to the ranks with those who think resisting government overreach/intrusion is more important than any environmental goal. If the principle of “winning hearts & minds” seems unreliable & would take too long, it's complimented by the conservative slogan that “Barack is not my father, Nancy is not my mother.”
Patience. Trust Elon's model of 1) establishing EV's as an enviable vehicle, 2) make batteries cheaper, and 3) make a practical mid-price auto. Government regulation is generally 10 years behind the time & technology, often poorly thought out & the result of compromise, and administered by bureaucrats with limited accountability, thus rife with unintended & unanticipated consequences. The compliance vehicles available in CA are an example of the resistance of manufacturers against regulation.
We (in the U.S., assuming that's your audience) view an automobile as a necessity, but it's more than that. When people have means (& sometimes even when they don't) many see it as an extension of themselves, of their egos, & will select cars & trick them out to appear if not actually be powerful. Look at the front-ends of the latest model pickups, and even luxury vehicles – they are designed to look massive & intimidating. Even the BMW i3 and the Leaf go for that boxy look, at the sacrifice of aerodynamics. Manufacturers will have to follow Musk's principle of making an EV that people actually want, meaning affordability, range, performance, & looks. Even at that, many are addicted to the sound of a growling engine. Where that's for their own gratification a subwoofer could be installed under the driver's seat to tickle their groin, but those who want it to impress others will never be satisfied with an EV.

mrspaghetti | July 9, 2014

@Captain_Zap Finally, in 2000, when the cut off date hit and all pickups and SUVs finally had to meet passenger vehicle safety standards, their sales soared. That is why you see so many trucks [and] SUVs on the road today.

That's not a clear causal relationship. Frankly, I think it's unlikely that everyone wanted an SUV before then but waited because they felt unsafe.

@renwo S alseT mrspaghetti. Your comparisons are not quite valid, we did ban CFCs, DDT, tetraethyl lead in gasoline and a lot more chemicals and devices which we deemed to be dangerous and not in the public interest. VCRs and 8-tracks are not quite in the same catagory.

Many bans that have been enacted by well-meaning legislators throughout the years have turned out to be mistaken (or at least suspect) in hindsight. DDT is one example of a substance that was never proven harmful, but whose ban probably cost the lives of many thousands of people in Africa from malaria in the years since.

Of those things for which there is a solid consensus that bans were appropriate (e.g., lead in gasoline), it is more than a stretch to say that modern internal combustion engines are in the same category.

The kind of petition that is proposed in this thread would be counterproductive, in my opinion. Rather than convincing anyone who does not already share the relatively radical opinion of the OP, it would (at best) be lampooned by late night comedians making fun of the environmental fringe.

Even in the hypothetical event that it went viral and our dynamic governments sprang into action at their usual pace to solve problems (/sarcasm), I predict the market would get to the same end sooner. Also, the market solution doesn't necessitate that we figure out which uses, people, vehicles, corporations etc. will be excluded from the ban (something that government mandates traditionally screw up).

johnglenney12356 | July 9, 2014

While the battle appears to be to our advantage, never underestimate your opponent. Oil companies, service stations, car manufacturers and car dealers to name but a few, have a clear advantage in terms of capital, politicians and tradition (how many people buy a Chevy because their last car and their parents car was a Chevy ). When cigarette smoking was banned in restaurants, it was the government that mandated the change. While there are still a trillion barrels of oil to sell, that represents a lot of campaign contributions. In many parts of the country, people have not gotten the word. It is no coincidence that every fire or accident with a tesla is trumpeted in the popular press as confirmation that electric cars are not to be trusted. I think we need a voice on the other side that says that not only are they to be trusted, but ice cars are not.

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

I am by no means a tree-hugger, but the larger point is that mandates focus resources toward a common objective, whether it's battery (or other storage devices), infrastructure or the vehicle itself. Our entire space industry and all of it's technological benefits came about with a single mandate to land a man on the moon in 10 years.

Brp154 | July 9, 2014

I think a major portion of what is missing from the argument is that ICEs are not cheaper.

Even on this forum, which clearly over represents people with a Tesla/EV bias and awareness of the negative consequences of fossil fuel use, you still hear people saying EV's cost more and you still hear references to the letting the free market run its course.

The free and fossil fuels are essentially opposite ends of the spectrum. When the PRICE of gas is about $4/gallon, and the COST of gas is, according to some academic sources, $15/gallon, you are talking about an $11 subsidy per gallon. Say the $15 is way off and you are at $8 or $10/gallon, you are still looking at a giant, opposite of free market, subsidy.

Sure, buying an ICE will be less money out of your pocket today, but it is much more costly to the rest of society, the planet, and the future overall, and even perhaps yourself later in life. These costs are real, and are increasingly calculable. Only through a willfully deficient lense could you conclude an ICE is cheaper.

We don't need an EV petition, we don't need taxes, we need the retail price of gasoline to no longer be subsidized buy the future and others. Gas is $10/gallon... the Leaf is sold out, and the gas is probably still subsidized at that point.

I have always thought it would be funny to start a garbage company and dump the collected waste in the yard of "free market" politician that supports fossil fuels. Hey, it is the free market, they can dump acid rain and mercury on my yard and call if the free market, I'll dump trash on your yard and call it the free market. Honestly and non-rhetorically, what is the difference?

mrspaghetti | July 9, 2014

@renwo S alseT

All the technological benefits of the space effort are regularly cited as justification for the immense expense of that effort, but there is no reason to believe that the same or better technology would not have evolved by other means. It may have taken longer, but overall it likely also would have cost much less.

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

mrspaghetti. I confess, I cannot prove a negative (no can you).

Captain_Zap | July 9, 2014

Perhaps a ban should be replaced with a tangible goal with incentives.

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

Captain. agreed.

jordanrichard | July 9, 2014

Ummmm, I am not about to give up my '83 Porsche 911. It amazes me how people start treating ICE cars like they are the most dangerous thing on earth and to be avoided at all costs. That the potential for explosion and fire is something new with ICE cars What exactly were you driving before an EV?

Hell lets ban and get off the road any car that doesn't have airbags because they are far more dangerous in an accident than modern cars.

I like Jay Leno's remarks after driving a MS. It was something along the lines of that having EVs as daily drivers, allows one to then enjoy and have fun with their "toys" on the weekend.

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

jordan, I haven't read where anyone on this forum has suggested making any goal retroactive to what currently exists.

hcwhy | July 9, 2014

Since this has zero chance of passing, it's just a message....and one that would create hostility towards EVs and everything connected to the technology. I think it would be counter productive.

P.Mac | July 9, 2014

Hmmm. Be careful what you wish for. Suppose the petition is successful, and that some legal process is developed that would allow some governmental body to ban a particular product. And then suppose some politician became irritated with electric vehicles, perhaps because they were bad for the oil business. What would prevent the banning of electric all vehicles, or maybe just EV's that cost more than $70,000.

Seems like a dangerous, slippery slope. Might be better for someone to build an EV that is so cool that people flock to it.

P.Mac | July 9, 2014

Hmmm. Be careful what you wish for. Suppose the petition is successful, and that some legal process is developed that would allow some governmental body to ban a particular product. And then suppose some politician became irritated with electric vehicles, perhaps because they were bad for the oil business. What would prevent the banning of all electric vehicles, or maybe just EV's that cost more than $70,000.

Seems like a dangerous, slippery slope. Might be better for someone to build an EV that is so cool that people flock to it.

hcwhy | July 9, 2014

P.Mac....Well said +10

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

P.Mac. You could easily substitute "CEO" for "politician", in that those are who currently control most of our political discourse.

Red Sage ca us | July 9, 2014

johncrab wrote, "Years ago I read in The Economist that the biggest challenge for EV car makers was to differentiate their products because the drivetrain is inherently simple and that they were all basically alike."

The other side of that argument is that people have gotten used to companies differentiating their vehicles, both within their own product lines and relative to others', by such things as: displacement, number of cylinders, number of intake/exhaust valves, number of cams, location of cams, fuel management (carburetion, fuel injection, hybrid), type of induction (natural, turbo, supercharger, cowl), type of exhaust (single, dual, quad, side), etc. All you have with electric cars is the number of motors, their individual horsepower, how they are arranged in the car, and the battery pack capacity.

Motorheads, Gearheads, and Grease Monkeys all really, really hate that it requires a completely different mindset to examine and evaluate electric vehicles. Marketing people can't wrap their heads around how to describe electric vehicles because they don't have the vocabulary. Administrative Executives who only knew that bigger numbers meant 'better' with horsepower and torque ratings are that much more clueless when it comes to electrically driven vehicles.

The simplest argument in favor of electric vehicles is the same one that Tesla Motors enthusiasts all understand. Just drive one. Then you'll know.

It is just as easy to differentiate between the driving experience of a Toyota Prius and a Tesla Model S as it is to tell the difference between a Ford Focus and a Mercedes-Benz S600.

mrspaghetti | July 9, 2014

@P.Mac - Might be better for someone to build an EV that is so cool that people flock to it.

Impossible. Such a vehicle would have to win Motor Trend Car of the Year, be the safest car on the road, have a 250+ mile range, be able to seat 5 adults and two kids comfortably and do 0-60 mph in under 6 seconds. Not only that, but it would have to come with a nationwide network of chargers that could charge 200 miles in 20 minutes - and those chargers would need to be FREE.

Yeah, that'll be the day...

ScottyNeutron | July 9, 2014

While we're at it, can we ban Balloons, Diving Boards, and Swimming Pools too?

Seriously though, this would have little to no impact. As China's and India's middle classes continue to grow, the worldwide CO2 output will also continue to grow. The puny impact that banning ICE vehicles would have say in North America, would be more than offset by the rapid embracing of low cost ICE vehicles in Asia alone.

The proposal also ignores the fact that an abrupt ban would cripple the oil industry; an industry we need for the bulk of our consumer products. There will be no medical devices, Teslas, iphones, or any other consumer products without a robust oil industry to supply the crude upon which most of our products' polymers are derived.

Let the market get there over time, with a little push here and there.

EcLectric | July 9, 2014

This idea is wrong on so many levels. I don't know where to start.

"Hey everybody. We're a small minority that likes electric cars. We would like to ban the type of transportation that 99% of the world uses because we think it's yucky. Don't worry, it's for your own good. You'll find something else to do besides going to Nascar races. Here, have some bean sprouts. They're for your own good. Next week we're banning meat..."

The bottom line is that it's wrong to force your ideas on other people. It's basically the same as saying "we've tried to convince you, but that hasn't worked, so now we are going to force you."

If convincing people doesn't work - maybe it's you who are wrong.

Captain_Zap | July 9, 2014


I'll sign a petition to ban mylar ballons. They are a menace.

renwo S alset | July 9, 2014

EcLectric. The discussion here is an intellectual exercise on ways to cut down our carbon footprint and is not focused on, or limited to "banning" anything, but possibly ways to increase growth of the industry. Hopefully, it's not an emotional discussion reliant on terms like "yucky", Nascar and bean sprouts to debate the pros and cons.

petochok | July 9, 2014



hcwhy | July 9, 2014



Mike83 | July 9, 2014

The fossil fuel industry with its propagandizing anti-science about global warming so it can continue to make trillions of dollars for the Kochs, exon, etc. is a sin against humanity. We have technology today that can halt and even reverse global warming emissions if there was the political guts to do it.
Of course the petition is only one stone thrown but that is how a movement begins. Some good news is that China and the US have come to a new agreement to reduce CO2 emissions just in the last few days.
Other technologies can replay fungicidal fuels like algae lipids but that is years away and EV is here today.

AmpedRealtor | July 9, 2014

This would certainly make an interesting White House petition... :)

L8MDL | July 9, 2014

To frame this discussion as an "intellectual exercise" is stretching it a bit...

johnglenney12356 | July 9, 2014

Ice cars will be banned. The only question is when. The optimists say 20 years, the pessimists say 100 years. The problem is that without drastic changes in the status quo humans will not be around in 100 years to enjoy the last of the fossil fuels. This is not an extremist view, it is the sober assessment of a growing number of climate scientists. So we have 2 choices, we can do what we can to help future generations, or we can continue on our oil binge; hell, we will be dead when the sh-t hits the fan.

RedShift | July 9, 2014

Just make the price of gasoline similar to what Europe is paying. After all, gas prices in the US are artificially kept lower, aren't they?

Banning ICE vehicles is a little too extreme.

jcaspar1 | July 9, 2014

Despite being a happy Tesla owner, I would fight this to the death and if it passes, just ignore it (guess I would be dead anyways!).
I woud rather they ban vacations or business travel in fossil fuel burning cars and airplanes. These seem to be a waste of energy and the environment

And the most anti-electric company Toyota would NEVER go for it....

johnglenney12356 | July 9, 2014

The politicians seem unable to act on a carbon tax or increase the gasoline tax. This petition would get their attention and then maybe they would be forced to do what they should have done long ago. They need to do something!

jjs | July 9, 2014

renwo S alseT - Don't think about EcLectric's statement as an attack within this forum, but rather what MANY people will FEEL about such a petition. I think he/she makes an excellent point.

+1 EcLectric
+1 Mrspagetti - I like sarcasm. Makes me smile. I know, I know...

Iowa92x | July 9, 2014

Diesel cargo ships and semis.