How Elon Musk is Changing the Game

With as many problems there are in the world, pollution is one of the major problems our generation is facing today. Pollution is defined as the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects. Pollution levels are crucial to our standard of living. It is important to measure the amount of pollution we emit into the environment not only because of the health of our planet and ourselves currently, but also for the well-being of future generations.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation exhaust is responsible for 13 percent of all greenhouse gases (Global). As we all know, greenhouse gases are the gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect, aka climate change. The majority of automobiles in the world are run off of fossil fuels, which are a resource that contributes to the global warming of the planet. Elon Musk, an innovator, engineer, and CEO of Space X and Tesla; is trying to change the way we use energy. Tesla, Inc. specifically has changed the game when it comes to our use of sustainable energy and lowering our carbon footprint. Electric cars also help keep cities cooler, by emitting 20 percent less heat than the traditional electric car (Electric).

Tesla, Inc. is a company based in Palo Alto, California which manufactures automobiles, solar panels, and innovative energy storage methods. Cars created by Tesla, Inc. (formally known as Tesla Motors) are built with innovation in mind, and are run off of small, lithium-ion batteries. According to the Tesla website, Tesla vehicle owners have saved 2,503,461.71 tons of carbon emissions in total so far (Tesla’s…). The leading cities in America being Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego; while the leading countries are the United States, China, and Hong Kong.

According to Steve Heckeroth, “Fossil fuels are inherently very inefficient because of the hundreds of millions of years of solar energy and the rare geologic events it takes to produce them….Producing electricity from solar energy using photovoltaics (PV) is about 5 percent to 20 percent efficient, and solar-thermal electric generation can be more than 35 percent efficient” (Heckeroth).

Although we are a myopic society, I think the idea of switching to electric cars such as Tesla, Inc. models would appeal to Americans for other reasons such as cleaner air quality and lower prices for “refueling” your car. Not only do Tesla models have little to no emissions, you can also charge them in the comfort of your own home. Although purchasing a Tesla and everything necessary to charge in your own garage would be a little pricey, in time it would make sense The trade-off of negative externalities caused by traditionally gas fueled vehicles for the social benefits of vehicles with little to no emissions would be appealing from an economic scope. Driving a Tesla automobile would in turn create a positive externality because for each person who buys an electric car there would be less carbon emissions in the atmosphere thus benefitting everyone whether or not they drive a Tesla as well. As the Pareto Criterion states, “any improvement to one person cannot cause harm to another” (Tietenberg).

A car built buy Tesla, Inc. would be considered a private good because it is both rivalrous and excludable, but as time goes on and we start to realize the effects carbon emissions is really causing to the planet, we will start to utilize the idea of “intertemporal equity”, or thinking ahead for the benefit of future generations.

All in all, Elon Musk is the type of innovator that today’s world needs more of. Tesla, Inc. has started an energy revolution not only in America but all over the world. Hopefully this private good will become more accessible in the future because it is a step in the right direction to stopping climate change.

By Nicole Behler


“Electric Cars May Help Keep Cities Cool.” New Scientist, vol. 226, no. 3014, 28 Mar. 2015, p. 18. EBSCOhost,

“Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 13 Apr. 2017,

Heckeroth, Steve. “Why We Need Electric Cars.” Mother Earth News, no. 218, Oct/Nov2006, pp. 94-99. EBSCOhost,

“Tesla’s carbon impact.” Tesla, Inc,

Tietenberg, Thomas H., and Lynne Lewis. Environmental & natural resource economics. Pearson, 2011.



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