1995 32¢ 1898 Columbia
Issue Date: November 3, 1995
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 11
The first electric automobiles appeared in Europe in the 1880s. Electric cars quickly became popular in the United States – in the late 1800s more Americans drove electric cars than gasoline-powered ones! This 1898 Columbia is an excellent example of the popular and innovative electric cars of the day.
Electric cars offer several advantages over their gasoline-powered counterparts. They produce no exhaust pollutants, and using batteries, do not rely on imported petroleum. They are quiet, and their batteries can be recharged while the vehicle is not in use, so there is no need to stop for fuel. However, electric cars have many disadvantages: they have limited driving ranges, their batteries are expensive, and need to be replaced over time, and they offer below-average acceleration. As gasoline-powered cars improved, use of electric cars declined. In 1900 they accounted for 38 percent of all U.S. car sales – by 1905 only 7 percent of the cars sold were electric powered.
In the 1960s environmental concerns and shrinking oil reserves sparked new interest in electric power, and a small number of electric autos were produced in the 1970s. Recent technological advances may soon make electric cars a popular form of transportation again.