Washington knows best which car to drive: electric vehicles

Washington knows best which car to drive: electric vehicles

[This piece has been published in Restoring America to highlight how the leftist push to force American consumers toward electric vehicles ignores individual consumer needs.]

When politicians say: ‘Let’s get rid of all cars that use petrol’, do they understand that?’
Toyota President Akio Toyoda
early in 2020, citing the sweeping consequences of politicians forcing a transition from conventional vehicles.

It’s a good question, and a proposal in the
so-called Inflation Reduction Act
being pushed by Congress, suggests the answer is “no.”

President Joe Biden has used several policy tools to force a transition from the ubiquitous combustion engine to electric vehicles. Among them are
executive orders
military mandates
to make it nearly impossible to manufacture and sell a conventional car or truck.

The Senate is ready to join. Heaped on top
tens of billions
of dollars in grants, taxpayer-backed loans, and investment tax credits for EV manufacturers, the
wrong name
Inflation Reduction Act negotiated by Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., proposes an extension of EV tax subsidies.

offers up to $7,500 in tax credits on new EV purchases, including bonuses for EVs made by union workers and batteries manufactured or assembled in North America. The legislation also expands the existing EV tax credit by removing limits on sales, adding a new $4,000 tax credit for used EVs, and extending the credits for the next decade.

While there are some improvements—contrary to the existing credit, the credit isn’t available to Americans collectively earning more than $300,000 or to EVs containing batteries made with critical minerals from “foreign entities of concern”—they’re taking the real thing. problem.

The problem isn’t the size of the credit or even EVs themselves. The
real problem
is that politicians try to force a transition to energy resources they prefer without inhibitions about the arrogance of such a central planning system, the restrictions it imposes on freedom, or the tradeoffs, restrictions, and collateral damage that policies cause in Americans. cost.

There is no perfect vehicle or energy. It’s all about compromises that prioritize individuals, families, and businesses in different ways. Yet too many politicians think they know what is perfect and what is the right vehicle for everyone else. And because they inappropriately impose their preferences on Americans, they ignore the cost of forcing electric vehicles on the country.

Let’s count some ways.

1. The gap between reality and political ambitions is wide. A full
of US transportation energy needs are covered by petroleum. EVs make about
of registered vehicles in the US, despite years of federal and state subsidies. The International Energy Agency estimates that the ambitions of politicians for the deployment of electric vehicles under the climate commitments of the Paris Agreement are a
increasing demand for minerals used in EV batteries by 2040. That may be why the head of EV company Rivian
that lingering supply chain problems with “semiconductors are a small appetizer of what we’re going to feel about battery cells in the next two decades.”

2. EVs trade fuel dependence for mineral dependence. While conventional cars and trucks depend on global markets for crude oil and refining capacity (

of which
major global supplier of), EVs must rely on global mineral mining and refining markets, which account for
more than half
the cost of an EV battery.

Minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and copper are needed to make batteries and other components in EVs. According to the International Energy Agency, EVs
six times more minerals
than a conventional car. The agency estimates it is necessary
over 16 years
on average to put a mine into operation from the moment of discovery of mineral deposits. Still, the Biden administration has gone out of its way to block new mining capacity in the United States, particularly in Minnesota and Alaska.

American miners are a
small player
in the global markets for the minerals needed for EVs: Chile is the world’s largest copper mining country; Indonesia for nickel; Australia for lithium, and – much trickier when it comes to human rights violations and environmental stewardship – China for rare earth minerals and the Democratic Republic of Congo for cobalt.

The refining capacity for these minerals is:
deeply concentrated
in China.

In other words
“Concerns about price volatility and security of supply do not disappear in an electrified, renewable energy system.”

3. EVs are used as a pretext for large favors from the government to unions. While there is certainly no reason why the policy for EVs should be special favors for unions, the Schumer-Manchin Act would provide bonus tax subsidies for EVs made with unionized work. This is just good, old-fashioned favoritism. Furthermore, these policies would drive up the cost of electric cars and punish most workers who prefer not to join a union. It could even backfire and lead to fewer electric vehicles being produced and sold in the US
14% of car workers
are united in the U.S. Meanwhile, foreign-owned automakers are now
employ more American workers
than domestic car manufacturers.

4. Policies that encourage EVs are corporate welfare and special favors for the wealthy. of the estimated
$7.5 billion in existing EV credits
to claim between 2018 and 2022, companies will take about half. Of the other half claimed by individual Americans, 78% goes to people who earn more than $100,000 a year. One state leads the pack: California is home to
39% of registered electric vehicles
— perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the state will ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles from 2035 as part of its radical climate agenda.

5. There is no guarantee that electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of how one looks at the global warming problem, electric vehicles are not a foolproof solution. EVs have to be plugged in somewhere and 60% of the electricity consumed in the US is generated from natural gas and coal.
Although the need for electricity generation would increase, federal regulators and some states are trying to stifle the production and use of natural gas as a source of energy, just as they have been trying to do with coal for years. No wonder network operators have it
heightened concern
about reliability.

6. EVs come with owner compromises. EVs bring interesting possibilities, but they also have drawbacks. Currently there are many EVs
costs more
than their conventional counterparts. To fuel
takes time
. EV batteries
lose an average of 2% of their capacity
every year (depending on exposure to extreme temperatures, how often an owner charges the battery, and other habits that degrade the batteries), and replacement is
. Some parking garages even
ban drivers
to park in it due to the risk of batteries catching fire. And the range of EVs is shrinking and heating is becoming a costly choice in
cold weather
which is probably the reason
very little
EVs are registered in cold weather states that don’t heavily subsidize them or penalize gasoline cars.

It is one thing for an individual, family or company to weigh up and make the decision to purchase an electric car. It is a
totally different matter
for politicians or bureaucrats to force the decision on the Americans.

Competition made America a great country to innovate, run a business, and buy products that meet the diverse needs of Americans. EVs are one of the many options out there that compete for the business of Americans and should compete on their merits.

Unless Congress comes to its senses, US taxpayers will cover the cost of the government’s big EV policies, whether they buy an EV or not.

This piece originally appeared in

Daily signal
and is reprinted with kind permission from the Heritage Foundation.

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