Last August, California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed to take away consumers’ choices when he rolled out his plan to eliminate the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035. The Environmental Protection Agency has said California can move forward. Other states can “opt in,” and it’s a hot topic in our region. Pennsylvania has joined some of California’s ideas in the past, and now Delaware Gov. John Carney and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy say they also want to ban the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles.
These plans will cost consumers more, endanger our environment, economy, and national security, and take away options for consumers to choose the vehicle that best suits their needs.
If electric vehicles made significant environmental progress, that would be one thing. But they don’t. Electric vehicles are not “zero” emissions—they create more emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles when they are produced, and they also cause emissions when they are charged, usually by burning fossil fuels.
Mining for many of the materials needed for an electric vehicle battery is done nearly exclusively overseas and is dominated by China. America’s lone lithium mine is responsible for about 2% of the world’s annual supply. Traditional cars have never been cleaner: Even President Barack Obama’s EPA head noted they are 99% cleaner than they were just a few decades ago.
Not only will electric vehicle mandates cost us more at the dealership, but they will also destroy American jobs. By limiting choice and increasing costs, fewer people will buy cars, hurting auto manufacturers and dealers alike.
Auto mechanics, masters at prolonging the life of the internal combustion engine, will also be impacted. America’s farmers would be devastated since more than a third of the corn crop ultimately goes to biofuels.
And America’s oil and refining workers would face a heavy blow. That is a huge issue in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, since all three have major oil refineries and form the epicenter of the refining industry on the East Coast.
Before COVID-19, America was leading the world in oil and fuel production, and we had finally achieved what every president since Richard Nixon dreamed about: energy security. Manufacturing jobs like those found at auto plants and refineries support dozens of other jobs and are the foundation on which an economy can be built. The oil and natural gas industry supports over 700,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Why destroy those jobs? Jobs are often impacted by technology, and if electric vehicles end up being a consumer’s choice, that is understandable and the price of progress. But if people want to continue buying internal combustion engine vehicles, these workers could continue to serve their neighbors and provide for their families for decades to come.
Thankfully, members of Congress—led by Pennsylvania Rep. John Joyce—recently proposed the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, which is intended to counter and restrict the potent effects of the California plan by protecting the rights and freedoms of individual consumers.
Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey should not join California. Last month, the political polling and survey company Ragnar Research conducted a survey showing that a resounding 73% of Delaware voters opposed a statewide ban on gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
Supermajorities in Delaware understand that buying a car is highly personal and the second most important financial decision we make. Bureaucrats in distant capitals do not know your situation, and they should not dictate your choices.
Internal combustion engine vehicles offer superior range, convenience, and durability at an affordable price. The median internal combustion engine vehicle has a range of 403 miles compared with the median electric vehicle at 234 miles. Cold weather and using the heater can reduce that range by some 40%. That means more frequent stops for electric vehicles to charge, and they take much longer than filling up at the pump.
Delaware’s and New Jersey’s internal combustion engine vehicles ban will hurt consumers, farmers, workers, and our national security. It’s time to say no to California’s car ban—in Harrisburg, Dover, Trenton, Washington, D.C., and across the country.
This piece originally appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer