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Force-Feeding U.S. Electric Vehicles . . . Despite The Downsides

The Biden administration’s electric vehicle mandate has come—in the form of an Environmental Protection Agency emissions rule.

Biden’s EPA leaves no doubt that forcing internal-combustion-powered vehicles off the road is the ultimate goal. The rule dictates that no more than 30% of vehicles sold in 2032 may run on gasoline. The bureaucrats do this by throttling down the amount of tailpipe emissions. Car manufacturers will have to build four EVs for every internal-combustion vehicle by 2032.

The ugliest of ugly faces of the Administrative State hath spoken—and it denies consumer choice and competition, market-based production and product offerings. The iron fist of Big Government has slammed the table.

The U.S. government forcing private-sector companies to stop providing the types of vehicles American consumers want certainly is un-American and violates property rights on multiple levels.

How do we know that consumers don’t want EVs? The few early adopters pretty much all have EVs. And they’re wealthy. Which is critical because most EVs sold in the United States are Teslas or other luxury brands. Less than 8% of last year’s U.S. vehicle sales were EVs—which means more than 90% of 2023 autos sold were gas-powered or hybrid.

Car dealers see EVs occupy valuable space on the lot and in the showroom. EVs lose money for auto companies. What are selling are gas-engine trucks and cars and hybrids, which run on both electric and gas power.

Why don’t most Americans want EVs? They’re expensive. Charging their batteries costs more than a tank of gas, and is a lot slower. Their maintenance and repairs cost more. Resale value remains uncertain; used car lots have many EVs that they can’t unload.

EVs are less dependable. Consumers complain that EVs’ features such as door locks and window switches stop working, while batteries die faster in cold weather and some won’t charge. A Dallas doctor told the Wall Street Journal the family Tesla “often requires a full night of charging at home, and even then, its range on a single charge often fell below estimates displayed by the vehicle.” EV models have had recalls due to one malfunction or defect or another.

And there’s greater risk of EVs catching on fire.

A Consumer Reports survey last fall reported 79% more problems with EVs than consumers have had with vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines.

Then there’s the fraud of EVs being “environmentally friendly.” Mining the minerals and manufacturing the batteries cause particulate emissions, while the heavier, battery-operated EVs degrade roads, which pollutes.

EVs draw an unfair share of the electricity infrastructure, risking energy security and reliability while increasing energy consumption.

Holman Jenkins writes: “Norway has seen no decline in oil consumption related to EVs, though users receive thousands of dollars in annually recurring subsidies and EVs accounted [in 2022] for 64% of new-car sales.

“The reason is increased use and ownership of gas-powered cars, especially for trips that EVs aren’t suited for.

“Now comes an update from the natural-resource consultants Goehring & Rozencwajg that . . . [d]espite some of the greenest electricity on Earth, a Norwegian still needs to get 45 years of use out of his imported EV battery (expected life 15 years) to offset the global CO2 cost of producing it.”

Jenkins, an astute Journal columnist, shines the light on what Al Gore might call “inconvenient facts” for his and Biden’s hypocritical ecosanctimony. Consider: “[T]he vehicles you and I drive, while large in number, sit parked 95% of the time and play a minor role in U.S. transportation emissions.

“It elides the fact that U.S. transportation emissions themselves are a small and shrinking share of global emissions.

“On the friendliest assumptions, the Biden plan would reduce global emissions by 0.18%. But the friendly assumptions are false because . . . every electric vehicle doesn’t displace a conventional one, every electric mile driven doesn’t displace a gasoline mile.”

Then there’s the economics. They suck for EVs and steal from internal-combustion vehicle buyers. Established automakers lose tens of thousands of dollars on each EV they sell. So those companies hike the prices on popular, selling autos. Jenkins notes that “GM has been enjoying some highly profitable quarters thanks to five-figure markups on pickups.” News flash: It’s not just GM robbing Peter to pay Paul.

EV startups are burning money, and each sale comes at a loss. Many if not most could go bankrupt before the Biden EV mandate can save them.

This charade has become Detroit’s game, thanks to Obama, Biden, Califoney and ecozealots. These criminals are more Rube Goldberg than Milton Friedman. The damage they’re inflicting on Americans at such an exorbitant fiscal and social cost to achieve a negligible 0.18% reduction in global emissions is unconscionable.

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