AMAC Exclusive – By Garrison Grisedale
The EPA’s recent regulations regarding tailpipe pollutants are just another step in the Biden administration’s push to force electric vehicles on the American people – a move that would upend the U.S. economy in the process.
Relying on an expansive interpretation of the Clean Air Act’s provisions granting it the authority to regulate CO2 emissions, the EPA has announced standards so strict that it will essentially force automakers to radically transition their fleets toward electric vehicles. According to estimates from the Wall Street Journal, these regulations would effectively require electric vehicles to make up about 66 percent of vehicle sales by the year 2032—a ten-fold increase from the six percent of the market electric vehicles captured last year.
Of course, this comes with enormous costs placed squarely on the pocketbooks of the American consumer. According to Consumer Reports, most electric vehicles come with an average sale price of $61,000, roughly the equivalent in many parts of the country of a down payment on a house or a college education. This sticker price is a full $12,000 dollars higher than the industry average, and drastically higher than entry level cars—an enormous cost to American families that is shrugged off by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Electric vehicles come with downsides other than just their high price, too, including limited range and lengthy battery charging times and inadequate charging infrastructure. In 2021, for instance, the average range of an electric vehicle was just 217 miles—barely more than half the 417-mile average range of a gas-powered car.
When your battery runs out, you might also be in for a long wait. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “level 1 chargers can take 40-50+ hours to charge” a battery-powered electric vehicle to 80 percent from empty.
Moreover, these chargers can be hard to find: a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study estimates that the U.S. would need to build 380 charging ports per day over the next nine years to accommodate a transition to electric vehicles (far more than the current build pace of 30 per day).
Consumers have taken note of these downsides. At the current pace, electric vehicles are only expected to make up about 15 percent of all vehicle sales by the year 2030, and a mere 19 percent by 2050 according to the Energy Information Administration—which is well off the pace of the Biden EPA’s two-thirds requirement.
But not only do electric vehicles themselves come with major problems, the industries they threaten to depose are integral to wide swaths of the American economy, too.
The ethanol industry, for instance, accounts for more than $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP and $2.4 billion of income for Iowa’s households by supporting 48,000 jobs in the state. In Texas, the state’s nearly 350,000 oil and natural gas workers produced 1.83 billion barrels of oil in 2022 alone, the highest in the nation by far, which supports at least 2.6 million jobs in the state and contributes $172 billion to the Texas economy. And in Michigan, the automobile manufacturing capital of the country, the industry supports 1.1 million jobs and contributes $304 billion to the state’s economy.
The Biden administration—and indeed, most of the bipartisan establishment in Washington, D.C.— appear to view the “flyover states” as exactly that: people to be “flown over” (often in private jets) as the elites travel from coast to coast, their everyday concerns ignored in the never-ending march towards “progress.”
Progress, in this case, means a lower quality of life and decreased standard of living for millions of hardworking Americans that keep this country running as their concerns are thrown by the wayside, largely because the Biden administration does not see these people as political allies.
Electric vehicles may in fact someday be the more desirable option for consumers. The ingenuity of American industry has risen to meet new challenges, spur groundbreaking innovations, and fill consumer demands before, and it could happen again.
But the Biden administration’s misguided efforts to force the electric vehicle transition are premature for the current state of technology, and they come with enormous costs to the American consumer—a severe problem which the elites view as just a small bump in the road for their grandiose visions of “progress.”
Garrison Grisedale is a Policy Analyst for the American Cornerstone Institute.