We Don’t Need a Costly, Mandated Detour to Electric Cars

COMMENTARY Coal, Oil, Natural Gas

We Don’t Need a Costly, Mandated Detour to Electric Cars

Jun 16th, 2022 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Derrick Morgan

Executive Vice President

Derrick Morgan is the executive vice president of The Heritage Foundation.
Sen. Joni Ernst holds up a visual of high gas prices and a quote from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on June 14, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

It’s becoming painfully clear that some on the left actually want higher gas prices, all to force Americans to buy expensive electric vehicles.

Why should taxpayers fund the lifestyle choices of mostly rich buyers with a $7,500 tax credit for a new car that most Americans can’t afford?

We want the federal government to stop talking down investment and increasing regulations in our energy sector.

With gas prices nearing $5 per gallon nearly everywhere, you’d think the left would be a little more careful “saying the quiet part out loud.”

Take Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. After she bought a new electric vehicle—which costs close to $60,000 on average—she bragged that on a recent trip to D.C. she “went by every single gas station and it didn’t matter how high it [the price of gas] was.” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, back when gasoline was about $3.40 per gallon (just last November, incredibly) said, “Families that once they own that electric vehicle will never have to worry about gas prices again.”

That’s the transportation equivalent of saying, “Let them eat cake.”

It’s becoming painfully clear that some on the left actually want higher gas prices, all to force Americans to buy expensive electric vehicles in order to defeat a “climate catastrophe.” It’s hard to come to a different conclusion when you see everything they’ve done to restrict supply and discourage investments in American oil and refining.

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The fact is that electric vehicles aren’t the best choice for everyone, even with thousands of dollars in tax subsidies for EVs and hidden regulatory subsidies making regular cars cost more. EVs have limited range and when you do refuel them, it takes a long time. According to AAA, the range for an EV is reduced by about 40% when the weather is cold if you dare to use the heater. And it’s reduced by about 20% in the heat if you use the A/C.

Even when you super-charge—a practice manufacturers encourage you to do sparingly to preserve battery life—it can take 30 minutes or more for a full charge. If it’s cold or hot outside, it takes even longer. And that’s if you can find a fast charger to begin with.

There is nothing wrong with choosing an EV, and if government policy let all cars compete on an equal playing field, some will do so. But why should taxpayers fund the lifestyle choices of mostly rich buyers with a $7,500 tax credit for a new car that most Americans can’t afford?

While President Biden and his allies in Congress are busy telling everyone they should buy an EV, the administration is also advancing regulations and policies that increase the cost of the conventional vehicles they disdain so much. Take the EPA’s greenhouse-gas emissions standards, which aim to make conventional cars so expensive that half of all drivers choose an EV.

Consumers will weigh price, features and performance alongside miles per gallon, which the EPA already mandates be displayed on a window sticker. We don’t need Washington’s “help” in the form of high prices for fuel or vehicles.

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As usual, California is even more out of touch than D.C. There, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered automobiles (along with lawn equipment). Every year, he forces manufacturers to sell more and more EVs by making regular cars cost more.

This isn’t new—it’s been a favorite ploy in the left’s playbook for years. Former President Barack Obama said that to combat climate change, electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket,” and Mr. Obama’s budget director agreed that “price increases are essential” to get people to make different choices. Perhaps that’s why Mr. Biden committed the gaffe of practically expressing glee at higher gasoline prices: “[When] it comes to gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”

No thanks, Mr. President. We don’t want a government-forced transition. We want the federal government to stop talking down investment and increasing regulations in our energy sector. We want to go back to the future of American energy dominance that saw surging American supply—so much so that America was the world’s biggest producer of oil and number-one fuel exporter in the world. Then he should trust us to make our own decisions about what car we buy.

This piece originally appeared in The Washington Times