Some people love electric vehicles (EVs). They drive them relatively short distances to work, charge them overnight in their garages and never stop for gas. Others, due to cost, convenience and climate, prefer gasoline-powered vehicles.
Thankfully, Americans today still have that choice. But if the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest proposed rule on car emissions is finalized as written, they won’t for much longer.
The new rule would require 60 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. to be battery-powered electric by 2030 and 67 percent by 2032, compared to just 6 percent today. This would effectively eliminate the choice of gasoline-powered cars for American drivers and make the economy more dependent on China, a source of the minerals needed to create their batteries.
The public has only until July 5 to comment.
Congress is taking note. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) has introduced a bill that would prevent the EPA from finalizing the rule, and other similar bills are planned. If these efforts fail, the new rule could have catastrophic effects on American consumers and the nation as a whole.
For one thing, it will increase drivers’ costs. Gasoline-powered vehicles are more affordable than their battery-powered equivalents. The electric version of the base model of the Ford 150 pickup truck, the best-selling vehicle in America, comes with an up-charge of $26,000. Statistically speaking, you would have to own your electric F-150, gasoline-free, for more than two decades to make up for that added cost. But the average electric car’s battery won’t last you more than 12 years.
In addition, the cost of electricity is high in many states and is likely to rise further due to another EPA rule, brought out in May, which would require power plants to sequester 90% of their carbon emissions. This would raise the price of charging these vehicles, making them still less cost-competitive.
Another drawback to electric vehicles is the inconvenience. A big advantage of gasoline-powered engines is that gas stations are common and that filling up tanks takes five minutes or less. Electric vehicles have to be recharged every 200 to 300 miles, and recharging takes 45 minutes to an hour.
Some are concerned about running out of electricity if they can’t find charging stations or if they are stuck in backups caused by accidents or storms. Furthermore, people’s time is valuable. They don’t want to stop for 45 minutes, especially not families with small children.
And then there is the issue of climate. In some cold states, EVs are simply not practical. Relatively new batteries in gasoline-powered vehicles don’t die in cold weather and don’t cause the car to lose range. Electric vehicle batteries, in contrast, can cause cars to lose 20 percent to 40 percent of their range in cold weather. That is why only 510 EVs are registered in Wyoming and only 380 in North Dakota.
America has vast resources of oil and natural gas. America as a nation might not want to eliminate gasoline-powered vehicles for three additional reasons: energy independence, effects on the climate, and human rights concerns.
China produces almost 80 percent of global batteries and controls a substantial share of the minerals used to produce batteries. It’s unlikely that this production can be moved to the U.S. Russia’s cut-off of natural gas to Europe and OPEC’s 1970s oil embargo underscore the need to preserve energy independence and the gasoline-powered cars that use America’s resources.
America’s air is continuously getting cleaner. But as for effects on global temperatures, it is not necessary or useful to ban gasoline-powered cars to lower global temperatures. Research by Dr. Kevin Dayaratna, chief statistician and senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, has shown that even completely eliminating all fossil fuels from the U.S. would result in less than 0.2 degrees Celsius in temperature mitigation by 2100.
Last but certainly not least, an electric vehicle mandate will result in an increase in mining by low-wage workers and children in countries that have no respect for the environment or human welfare. Mining for these minerals is energy-intensive, and the Chinese Communist Party has facilitated access to domestic and foreign minerals for battery production.
Lithium is mined in western China’s Qinghai Province, aided by government funding, and China purchases cobalt for electric batteries from Kisanfu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Through regulation, the Biden administration wants to put the U.S. on a glide path to California’s rule to eliminate sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles altogether by 2035. Just as many Americans enjoy driving electric vehicles, others prefer gasoline-powered cars. Their choice of cars should be preserved.
This piece originally appeared in The Hill on June 12, 2023