The Intersection of Smug and Science

Chances are good that you or someone you know drives an electric or hybrid car. They are becoming increasingly popular–I was surprised after moving out to Denver how many parking structures have spaces reserved for electric cars with outlets for them to plug into.

Owners will give you plenty of good reasons for buying them: your gas mileage is tremendous, saving you both time and money when it comes to filling up; it’s better for the environment, as using less gas leads to less pollution; while the vehicles themselves are more expensive (both in the initial purchase and in the maintenance), it’s partially made up for with tax credits; and they don’t look nearly as stupid as they did when they first came out.

Let’s find out how they’re wrong, and how it can feel so good to know that.

It’s the “better for the environment” angle that is most often touted, and is most infuriating to those of us who don’t drive hybrids or electric cars, because it can lead to a sense of smug superiority among their owners. (NOTE: No one I know who drives a hybrid or electric car has ever acted this way to me, but I have overheard it happen and heard about it secondhand. This proves, once again, that I only associate with awesome people.)

Saving the environment is a worthwhile endeavor. But owning a hybrid doesn’t mean you should act like you’re better than people without one, as some owners do. Even paying more just adds to their feeling of smugness, saying things like, “Yes, it was more expensive, but I’m just trying to do my part to save the Earth. The sacrifice was worth it, to me.”

Once again, South Park got it exactly right.

Once again, South Park got it exactly right.

It’s enough to make you want to slap them in the face. Luckily, you don’t have to. Science has done it for you.

It turns out driving electric or hybrid cars doesn’t have an impact on the level of air pollution.

The study linked to points out that passenger vehicles creates a relatively small percentage of pollution, so even having up to 42% of passenger vehicles be “Electric Drive Vehicles” (which includes hybrids and electrics, both battery-powered and the plug-in variety) doesn’t do much to reduce overall emissions. Additionally, much of the reduction that would be gained by using EDVs is counteracted by the increased emissions caused by power plants. As it turns out, electricity is not a clean power source.

I know it sounds crazy, but you're just going to have to trust me.

I know it sounds crazy, but you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

It’s not like today’s gas-guzzlers are the polluters they used to be either. The technologies running them keep getting more efficient, and the catalytic converters and other devices used to make the exhaust cleaner keep getting better. Also, there isn’t lead in gas like there used to be, which is always a plus.

Let’s just take a moment to enjoy this. There’s nothing better than someone with an overinflated sense of self being hit with the pin prick of reality. Or, to go back to my original metaphor, science just slapped the superiority right out of their smug faces.

Science is amazing.

Science is amazing.

Of course, this also means the government should probably stop giving tax rebates to people who buy EDVs. There are all kinds of political ramifications, I bet. I don’t care. I just want the slapping. I could watch that gif for hours, just imagining a smug hybrid owner getting obliterated by that slap, right as he’s in the middle of enjoying the smell of his own fart.

Again, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get a hybrid or electric car. There are still good reasons for getting them. It just means that if you come across a smug owner, perhaps being condescending to you or someone else who doesn’t have one, feel free to slap them with SCIENCE!

Or your hand. Seriously, those people are terrible.

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