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Many of the West’s Gas-guzzling Cars are Starting Second Lives in West Africa

The stream of used cars heading to West African ports is only expected to increase with the West’s shift to electric vehicles. As wealthy countries set aggressive goals to move consumers towards electric vehicles to cut planet-warming pollution, gas-powered cars won’t necessarily go away. Instead, many will be shipped thousands of miles away to developing countries like Benin, where populations are growing, along with demand for used cars. Experts say the effect will be to divert climate and environmental problems to countries that are the most vulnerable to the climate crisis, undermining their own attempts to cut planet-warming pollution. Nearly one in five vehicles sold globally this year will be electric, according to the International Energy Agency, compared to less than 5% in 2020. China, Europe and the US are leading the EV market, the agency said. In states like New York and Florida, where consumers are buying more EVs, dealers are increasingly looking overseas as a place to sell their older gas-powered models, according to Matt Trapp, a regional vice president at the huge auto auction company Manheim.