Business / Government Watch / Opinion

Washington Knows Best What Car You Should Drive: Electric Vehicles. Seriously?

electric vehicles

“When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline,’ do they understand this?” Toyota President Akio Toyoda asked in 2020, referring to the profound consequences of politicians forcing a transition away from conventional vehicles.

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

President Joe Biden has used a variety of policy vehicles to force a transition from the ubiquitous internal combustion engine to electric vehicles. Among them are executive orders, procurement mandates for the military, and  regulations to make it almost impossible to manufacture and sell a conventional car or truck.

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

The bill offers up to $7,500 in tax credits for new EV purchases, including bonuses for EVs made by union labor and batteries manufactured or assembled in North America. The legislation also makes the existing EV tax credit even bigger by eliminating caps on sales, adding a new tax credit of $4,000 for used EVs, and extending the credits for the next decade.

While there are some improvements—unlike the existing credit, the credit is not available for Americans earning more than $300,000 jointly or for EVs containing batteries made with critical minerals from “foreign entities of concern”—they don’t address the real problem.

The problem isn’t the size of the credit or even EVs themselves. The real problem is politicians attempting to force a transition to energy sources they prefer, having no inhibitions about the arrogance of such a central planning scheme, the restrictions it imposes on freedom, or the trade-offs, limitations, and collateral damage those policies cause at Americans’ expense.

Trade-offs, Limitations, and Collateral Damage

There’s no perfect vehicle or energy. All involve compromises that individuals, families, and businesses prioritize differently. Yet too many politicians think they know what’s perfect and the right vehicle for everyone else. And as they inappropriately impose their preferences on Americans, they ignore the costs of forcing EVs would impose on the country.

Let’s count some of the ways.

1. The disconnect between reality and political aspirations is wide. A full 90% of Americans’ transportation energy needs are covered by petroleum. EVs make up about 1% of registered vehicles in the U.S., despite years of federal and state subsidies. The International Energy Agency estimates that politicians’ aspirations for EV deployment under the Paris Agreement climate commitments imply a thirtyfold increase in demand for minerals used in EV batteries by 2040. That’s perhaps why the head of EV company Rivian warned that ongoing supply chain problems with “semiconductors are a small appetizer to what we are about to feel on battery cells over the next two decades.”

2. EVs trade fuel dependency for mineral dependency. While conventional cars and trucks rely on global markets for crude oil and refining capacity (both of which the U.S. is a major global supplier of), EVs must rely on global markets for mining and refining of minerals, which account for more than half the cost of an EV battery.

Minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and copper are needed to manufacture batteries and other components in EVs. According to the International Energy Agency, EVs use six times more minerals than a conventional car. The agency estimates that it takes more than 16 years on average to get a mine up and running from the moment of discovery of mineral deposits. Yet the Biden administration has done its level best to block new mining capacity in the United States, particularly in Minnesota and Alaska.

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

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, renewables-rich energy system.”

3. EVs are being used as a pretext for big government favors to labor unions. While there is certainly no reason why policies addressing EVs have to be special favors for labor unions, the Schumer-Manchin bill would give bonus tax subsidies for EVs made with union labor. This is just good, old-fashioned cronyism. Further, these policies would inflate EV costs and penalize 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 U.S. Only about 14% of autoworkers are unionized in the U.S. Meanwhile, foreign-owned automakers now employ more U.S. workers than domestic automakers.

4. Policies pushing EVs are corporate welfare and special favors for the wealthy. Of the estimated $7.5 billion in existing EV credits to be claimed between 2018 and 2022, corporations will take about half. Of the other half claimed by individual Americans, 78% will go to people making more than $100,000 per year. One state leads the pack: California is home to 39% of registered electric vehicles—perhaps unsurprising inasmuch as the state is banning the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035 as part of its radical climate agenda.

5. There’s no guarantee that EVs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of how one views the issue of global warming, EVs are no surefire solution. EVs have to plug in somewhere, and 60% of the electricity consumed in the U.S. is generated from natural gas and coal. Ironically, even as the need for electricity generation would grow, federal regulators and some states are trying to choke off production and use of natural gas as a power source, just as they’ve been trying to do to coal for years. It’s no wonder grid operators have heightened concerns about reliability.

6. EVs come with trade-offs for owners. EVs bring interesting capabilities to the table, but they also have detractors. Currently, many EVs cost more than their conventional counterparts. Refueling takes time. EV batteries lose an average of 2% of their capacity each year (depending on exposure to temperature extremes, how often an owner charges the battery, and other habits that degrade batteries), and replacement is costly. Some parking garages even prohibit drivers from parking in them due to the risks of batteries potentially catching on fire. And the driving range of EVs decreases and heating becomes a costly choice in cold weather, which is probably why very few EVs are registered in cold-weather states that don’t heavily subsidize them or penalize gasoline cars.

It’s one thing for an individual, family, or company to weigh trade-offs and make the decision to purchase an EV. It’s a totally different matter for politicians or bureaucrats to force the decision on Americans.

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

Unless Congress comes to its senses, American taxpayers will be covering the costs of big government EV policies, whether they buy an EV or not.

Note: This article has been updated since publication.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

Reprinted with Permission from - The Daily Signal by – Katie Tubb

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7 months ago

So a 70 yr old on a fixed income the tax incentive wouldn’t even help. Be green—get horse plus you get fertilizer. I would even go for a donkey, bikes are great too.

7 months ago

Tax credit: I recently read that 70% of the EV cars available don’t qualify. The bill requires that certain requirements must be met to qualify for the EV tax credit and most of them don’t qualify. Currently the car that has the most American made parts and is assembled in America is the Corvette – Made in the USA – mostly. So, the EV push has problems” chips, batteries, availability, charging times, milage per charge and Oh, the electric to charge them isn’t free…. Of course, you can go out to the mall and sit around for hours to get a free charge. And then there’s the drugs that will be negotiated for, but Medicare part B is going up anyway so where’s the relief for me? Gas prices came down, but the state will start putting their taxes back on so it’s still going to be pricey. Inflation relief…talk to me…when will I see that? And now that they’re on a roll, student loan dismissal will again walk on the stage.

7 months ago

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 

Michael J
7 months ago

Facts be damned. That’s the politicians and bureaucrats mantra, but not just limited to EV’s, everything that has a government subsidy has that stamp of approval.

7 months ago

I’ll be more likely to buy an electric vehicle when I see these elected officials flying in electric powered aircraft.

7 months ago
Reply to  Sonny

You go guy!

7 months ago

Once again we’re repeating past history as Politicians and Government are trying to manipulate the automotive market place. They tried this in the 1970’s after the Arab Embargo by OPEC. Until that time gas and oil was cheap and the auto makers were churning out big, gas guzzling cars and trucks because that’s what the buying public wanted.

Then came the CAFE Emissions Mandates which allowed up to them novelty cars like Honda, Toyota and Datsun take over the US marketplace while the big 3, GM, Ford and Chrysler all struggled to revamp their car production to compete with the fuel efficient imports.

By the late 1980’s and 1990’s computers and fuel injection systems were able to meet the CAFE requirements and what happened next is that the government endorsed econoboxes were being replaced with large SUVs, Pickup Trucks and larger cars again. People wanted their bigger vehicles and the market decided on what vehicles people drove.

This agenda driven narrative to change the market from fossil fuel vehicles toward electric powered vehicles is decades away from reality. The infrastructure for charging stations, the false narrative that electric cars will save the planet while we are ecologically destroying the earth to mine for the rare metals and minerals it takes to build these electric car batteries and the ultimate demands on our electric grids to power the charging stations.

And what powers the power plants? Is it solar? Is it windmills? No it is coal, natural gas and nuclear. The electric car industry is not sustainable at this pace. The products are too expensive. The average American won’t be able to purchase one. And the environmental impact of all of these toxic batteries has not been well thought out. It doesn’t matter if the government is subsidizing the purchase of these vehicles with “tax credits”. Who is the hell cares!

As long as fossil fuels vehicles are still around, and they will be for the long term foreseeable future, I’ll be a customer for life!

7 months ago
Reply to  Steven

Just another thought–I have a 2009 high performance luxury car that gets better fuel mileage than my wifes 2017 economy car. Just saying….

Michael Lewis
7 months ago

Why Gas Engines Are Far From Dead – Biggest EV Problems

The Great CO2 Con That Governments Conspire In

Are We In A Carbon Drought

The Great CO2 Con

Climate change is an existential threat

7 months ago

EVs are anything but carbon neutral. In fact the ones with the greatest range have large batteries. This means it takes a lot more energy to mine, refine, and make the batteries (88% in China). Add the energy to recharge and a 400 mile range EV will never be as carbon efficient as a normal gasoline powered vehicle. Then with the battery fade over time, replacements will be $10K or more, if available. Note the Ford Escot EV made 10 years ago no longer has replacement batteries available. The only EV that is known to be carbon friendly is a mixed source Hybrid. Then if you are buying an EV for carbon neutrality, you are being fooled that you are helping the planet. The subsidies are nothing more than welfare for the rich.

Chris Bell
7 months ago

Problem nobody is talking about…1 Domestic Production – If the entire manufacturing process can be done in the USA then okay. Right now the majority of “clean” energy comes from our enemies. Why are subsidies going to people that want us destroyed.2 Batteries and windmills. What is the REAL carbon cost? Over their use life these “clean” sources aren’t made without tremendous refinement which produces hazardous byproducts.3. Cost: The average family is barely getting by and if we added the futer tax burden from Congressional drunken spending. Every penny we make would be going to pay off the debt. Plus, every penny four kids and grandkids.4 The Constitution! Where in the Constitution is the power to control energy specifically given to the Federal Government? Hint: it doesn’t. 5. Inflation is what the central bank and politicians want. Inflation does not just make your dollar worth less, it dramatically reduces the debt. If an average American tried to do this to their budget (credit card bingo) they would be convicted of FRAUD. If they don’t have political connections then they will be put in prison for a long time.Finally, the Fed. The founders were against two things. State Religion and a central bank.A central bank is responsible for allowing Congress to take on so much debt that America is essentially bankrupt. Where was Congress specifically given authority to establish a bank?

Henry D
7 months ago

I have just two questions; how many of these politicians with over-inflated salaries drive EV’s themselves ( their chauffeur doing all the legwork to keep it running?)?
And have you seen the satellite’s photographs of Lake Meade behind Hoover Dam lately ( one MAJOR source of electrical power for the Los Angeles megatropolis ), so if the wind behind all those windmills should die even a little where are you going to get that 240-voltage to charge your car? and it is DIRTY AC to begin with.

7 months ago

Who’s going to pay for my electric vehicle as I sure can’t afford one!

7 months ago

Electric Vehicles are one of the many future things to look into & improve. At this time, too many unanswered questions for EV in USA: Where is long term plan for energy, manufacture of batteries, life of batteries, Batteries must be recycled & not put into landfill — like blades of wind turbines and solar panels. Time frame must be realistic of maybe 50-years in USA so that country does not end up broke, hungry, and in the dark because we do not have energy to live the American lives that we have today. And politicians in Washington, DC need to realize that the medium income in USA for a lot of people is below $40K per year.

7 months ago
Reply to  johnh

I feel the same way – still a lot of unanswered questions. And I can’t use the EV tax credits until I finish with the solar tax credits. I’d love to go EV but my corvette is paid for and gets 15+ miles per gallon depending on how it’s driven. An EV will cost me $45K – $60K plus the cost of a docking station and the power to charge it. So that’s adding $750+ to a fixed retirement budget that I don’t pay now. Gas for the vette, $150 a month (I’m retired), so the EV is still a minimum of $600+ out of pocket for 5 – 6 years. These car makers need to understand, we don’t need a vehicle that can go 0-60 in 3.0 seconds. We need a vehicle that can go 500 miles on a charge at 60 mph and 600+ miles at 45 mph. I want comfortable, affordable, dependable transportation. I don’t want another race car.

7 months ago

Electric cars are a luxury…gas and oil are just 2 things that “run” just about anything. It’s a stupid soul who wants to eliminate them without having something in place to sustain the power we need to operate. I think J Kerry and others need to try rowing a boat or kyak over oceans to other countries for their shady deals…maybe then they will realize their environmental crap is just that.

7 months ago

Progressives are ideologues; what matters is compliance with their ideology. Just never question the sacredness, the worthiness of their ambitions or you are out of the club. It’s their religion.

This excellent article lists all the practical details they do not want to deal with; to them, these questions are irrelevant. Surely government can figure it out, we went to the moon for cryin’ out loud! So they will dismiss virtually every roadblock (or claim it’s not true) placed in the path of their goal. They don’t care if the U.S. economy suffers as long as their ideological pursuit of their goal is unchecked. In this pursuit they have been aided by Republicans all to willing to go along rather than fight. But facts such as presented here about EV still matter to many of us as outlined in this article. Thank you.

7 months ago

One of the features of a Constitutional Democracy is that the majority of citizens elect the people to govern (not rule) the Nation and protect the Constitution and see that the Constitution defines what rights citizens have and what laws are needed to insure that. It’s what the elected politicos think they would like or prefer what is best the citizenry, not for them personally, and what is within the bounds of the rights found in the Constitution and laws legally derived from that Constitution. The DemocRats want to RULE the Nation, not just GOVERN the Nation, thus putting their personal desires at the top of their preferences and votes.

Brian Carrozza
7 months ago
Reply to  Hal

I know that this is splitting hairs, but America is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. As Rush Limbaugh used to say, “Words mean things.”

7 months ago
Reply to  Hal

There’s one thing wrong with your comment. The USA is NOT a democracy! It is a republic. To illustrate the difference in a democracy two wolves and a lamb are debating what’s for dinner. Guess who ends up being dinner. In a Republic the lamb is fully armed and contesting the vote.

7 months ago

follow the money! check the billionaires, who own all the electric related business, and will add to their fortunes by forcing us to go all electric without forcing them to let the technology improve to the point that it actually is cost effective compared to petroleum based energy. they dont want to wait for the technology to become competitive with petroleum! they are doing this because because they cannt outright buy the current big energy companies; exxon, shell, bp etc and rake it in there so they are using government to force us to buy their uncompetitive product.

David Millikan
7 months ago

DICTATOR Beijing biden and his Communist Party need to stay OUT of OUR LIVES and SECURE the BORDER, DRILL FOR OIL, and CONVICT Hunter biden with daddy.

Brian Carrozza
7 months ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Traitor Joe.

Jake the snake
7 months ago

There have been a lot of electric car fires. Gm just had to recall all of their volt cars. Ford had to recall their new electric cars too. Tesla is having battery materials issues.

The tesla has been built for years yet battery material issues.

The only car that seems to be completely viable is the price and it is a 50/50 electric car.

Once again everything the democrats touch turns to s***.

7 months ago

I read that a new battery for these electric cars costs $14,000. They don’t talk about that.

7 months ago
Reply to  Mandy

of course not, they dont want to wait for the technology to be cost competitive with petroleum. THEY WANT THEIR MONEY NOW, TO HELL WITH PUBLIC’S WISHES OR CAPITALISM!! that is why they back the communists in the democrat party!!!

7 months ago

I am a motor head and subscribe to several magazines. All of them are pushing EVs, fully electric more than hybrids. and only about 20% of their articles, tests and reports are being presented for gasoline powered vehicles. None of them honestly talk about the problems with EVs i.e., lack of range, the need for a level 2 charging system at home ($2000 average installed cost), damage done by level 3 quick charges, zero resale value when batteries are exhausted, virtually no roadside charging available, etc. etc. etc…. EVs may be the future but not the near future. We are being force fed crap.

7 months ago
Reply to  granky

I read them too and it is irritating. the european and british mags are worse. they have basically given in to big brother.

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