Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — considered the most likely Democratic candidate for president in 2024 after Joe Biden in the Washington Post’s latest ranking — says the solution to high gas prices is to get “most Americans” to switch to electric. vehicles. Willingly or not.
As secretary, Buttigieg issues federal regulations to force states to restrict the use of gas-powered vehicles. If he becomes president, we’ll live in a green hell, forced to buy expensive electric vehicles to satisfy his climate zeal.
Currently, less than one percent of vehicles on the road are electric. EVs are probably the long-term future. But they won’t solve the current pain at the pump. They cost too much. And charging them is a logistical nightmare. The United States has 150,000 gas stations, but only 6,000 charging stations.
On a radio show Thursday, Buttigieg moved the audience by suggesting that switching to electric cars — rather than producing more energy — is the answer. Meanwhile, gas prices are projected to soar to as much as $6 a gallon this fall, according to an internal analysis by the US Treasury Department, and even higher in JP Morgan’s worst-case scenario.
EVs are not the answer. Buttigieg lives in la-la-land. The average new EV costs about $66,000. One of the best deals, according to US News and World Report, is the 2022 Kia EV6, priced at $40,900 before add-ons. Even that is more than most people can afford. Three quarters of Americans who need a car buy a used car and pay about $27,000 for it.
EVs are for big spenders. No less than 78% of EV buyers own another car, according to AAA. They are in the income bracket to afford multiple cars. They drive short distances with the EV, but fall back on their petrol car for long distances.
Lucky for them, getting a load out of the house isn’t quick or easy, notes the MIT Technology Review. Petrol cars drive in and out of gas stations. EV owners need to cool their heels for at least 15 minutes to put a few hundred miles on the vehicle, even on the fastest Tesla supercharger.
That is, if you can find a charging station. They are “almost non-existent” in rural America.
Even charging at home can be a problem. Take the Tesla Model Y, ranked as the best electric SUV. Even if you have a 220V charger installed in your house, it will take 11.5 hours to charge this model. That’s more than most people sleep in one night.
And that’s assuming you’re allowed to charge. With some states facing brownouts and electricity restrictions, there may be restrictions. Texas has already put limits on charging EVs during peak hours. Texas does not produce enough electricity to support widespread charging. Imagine being told you can’t plug in your car in the evening to drive to work the next morning.
The fact is, the country doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a rapid overall transition to EVs, and many states don’t have electricity generation either.
Many of these problems are temporary. The major car companies are betting on EVs for the future. Both GM and Tesla are working with supermarket chains across the country to install charging stations. (The federal government also funds some stations.) Already 14% of Sheetz stores, a regional mid-Atlantic chain, have Tesla chargers. Sheetz is excited to sell soft drinks and snacks to EV owners while they wait to recharge.
In the long run, count on market ingenuity to solve the shortcomings of EVs and increase their affordability, much like what happened with cell phones. Unfortunately, Buttigieg refuses to wait. He’d rather ram the technology through the Americans.
On Thursday, he proposed regulations to force states to cut carbon emissions from highways, effectively banning gas-powered vehicles. The regulations appear to exceed the purview of the Department of Transportation and will be challenged in court. But they indicate Buttigieg’s mentality.
Be careful not to radicalize this climate into the next president of the United States.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York.