AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan
In recent weeks, the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against Michigan’s “Big Three” automakers has thrust the debate over President Joe Biden’s proposed electric vehicle (EV) mandate into the spotlight. But as Democrats in Washington, D.C., look to force every American into an electric car – destroying the U.S. automotive industry in the process – one group is fighting back.
The Save Our Cars Coalition (SOCC) describes itself as a collection of organizations “committed to safeguarding American consumers’ freedom to choose the car or truck that perfectly suits their needs.” The UAW strikes have made the importance of SOCC’s work especially clear, as Biden’s EV mandate would not only limit Americans’ choice in buying a car, but also destroy an estimated 117,000 jobs in the auto industry.
“Our belief centers on fostering a competitive market where innovation and consumer preference, not governments, drive product offering and promote a dynamic and responsive automobile industry,” the coalition says.
Among the dozens of members of SOCC are AMAC, the America First Policy Institute, the Conservative Partnership Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Independent Women’s Forum, along with other conservative-aligned advocacy groups and think tanks. According to the group’s website, members of SOCC “uphold the principle that the government should refrain from favoring specific vehicles or industries within the marketplace” and “believe that automobile manufacturers should be free to produce the types of vehicles that consumers want to buy, not just the ones that governments compel them to make.”
The rise of groups like SOCC has come thanks in large part to the soaring cost of automobiles as a result of liberal government policies like Biden’s proposed EV mandate. According to the Detroit Free Press, the “number of car buyers paying $1,000 or more a month to finance a new vehicle” recently reached an all-time high. Moreover, approximately one in three car buyers are taking out six- to seven-year loans on used vehicles to make monthly payments more affordable—even though only one percent of auto loans lasted that long in 2004.
To make matters worse, climbing interest rates are leading to skyrocketing loan rates for both new and used cars—and the average used car loan has reached a whopping 125 percent of the car’s original value. Meanwhile, more and more drivers are falling behind on their car payments, and Biden’s war on American energy has yielded sky-high gas prices.
Thankfully, SOCC—with the help of Republicans in Congress and other conservative organizations—is taking steps to reverse the liberal policies that are killing the automotive industry and American car culture.
Last month, House Republicans—with eight Democrats joining—passed the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, which holds that California cannot use its waiver authority under the Clean Air Act to ban internal combustion engine vehicles (California has proposed a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035). Though the bill is likely to face an uphill battle in the Senate, its passage in the House suggests increasing bipartisan momentum to counter the left’s EV obsession.
Last month, the D.C. Circuit also heard several key cases regarding the Biden administration’s EV proposals. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, one of the cases, State of Texas et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, could potentially “thwart the EPA’s ambition to restructure a major portion of the U.S. economy without a clear authorization from Congress.”
The second case concerns the CAFE Standards, which under the Obama administration required cars and light-duty trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2025—up from 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016. Biden has sought to impose similar standards.
Other countries which have introduced similar policies to the ones now being pushed by Biden and many Democrats are notably already reversing course. Last month, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that he is delaying his proposed ban on gas-powered cars, citing the “unacceptable costs” the bans would have imposed on ordinary people.
Though Sunak still intends to impose the full ban in 2035 instead of 2030, his acknowledgement of the ban’s effect on working class people is an encouraging sign not only for the future of the automobile industry, but also for a lower cost of living and higher quality of life.
“Cars are not merely vehicles. They are integral to the American way of life,” SOCC president Thomas Pyle said in a recent interview. “Our ultimate goal is to get us to a place where consumers, not the government, are driving the auto market in the future.”
As the battle to save American cars, American freedom, and the American way of life marches forward, SOCC will continue to have a vital role to play—and it remains clear that they are just getting started.
Additional information regarding SOCC can be found on their website.
Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.