If California gets its way, they will essentially decide what car you drive.
In August of 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved requirements to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and light trucks by 2035 in favor of zero-emission vehicles.
And as California goes, so goes the nation. In fact, 17 states are already considering following their lead.
The Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, which passed the House Committee and is headed to a floor vote, would amend federal law to block attempts to eliminate the sale of ICE vehicles. It would also restrict the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any waivers for the sale or use of gas-powered vehicles. California, or any other state, would not be permitted to ban the sale of any type of vehicle.
“One state should not be able to set national policy, and Americans should not be coerced into making purchases they cannot afford,” says Representative John Joyce (R-PA).
It’s no secret that electric vehicles (EVs) are substantially more expensive than their counterparts. They cost on average a little over $61,000.
Not to mention the fact that the vast majority of Americans do not want them.
EV sales only comprise about 6% of new car sales nationally. And this is after substantial subsidies, to both auto dealers and consumers. Currently, only 19% of the public are “very” or “extremely” likely to consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase.
The fact remains that consumers are reluctant to purchase EVs. Aside from the steep retail price, they have short ranges, long charging times, costlier parts, and limited capacity in colder climates. They’re just not practical for the average motorist.
Most EV owners actually use it as their second vehicle, which means it isn’t driven as much nor is it the vehicle of choice for heavy use, like road trips. Since the EV is driven less frequently, it could take about 10 years for the car to break even on emissions because the manufacturing of the car is emission-heavy. The production of its battery alone is mineral intensive and comes with its own set of environmental impacts. But most people don’t hold onto their cars for that long.
Sixty-three percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and are undoubtedly more worried about getting food on the table and paying the electric bill. They’re not overly concerned about retrofitting their homes and automobiles for climate change, let alone are able to afford the steep price tags that come with it.
Such mandates will only stand to hurt minority communities the most. Black Americans are already the least likely to own a vehicle. Forcing the public to purchase an EV will further push them out of the market. And with low home ownership, they’ll have nowhere to charge it anyway.
With an increasingly fragile and overburdened power grid that is not ready to handle more strain, as well as a substantial lack of infrastructure to charge EVs, Americans will be left in the dark. Literally. States are already experiencing rolling blackouts and problematic charging stations.
We don’t even produce or manufacture the large quantities of critical minerals necessary to build and power EVs’ lithium batteries. This requires a reliance upon foreign entities, some of which are hostile to the United States or engage in human rights violations.
Switching to EVs will have little to no impact on global CO2 emissions. In fact, the bans and EV mandates are more likely to cause a net increase in emissions by transferring the environmental burdens from the use phase to the raw materials extraction and manufacturing phases.
U.S. passenger vehicles contribute only 16.4% to the country’s 15% share of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a global contribution of less than 2.5%.
Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, nor overhauling a major portion of the American economy. Auto manufacturing contributes nearly $1 trillion each year and provides nearly 10 million jobs.
The truth is, that such vehicle mandates are costly. Whether that’s through tax-payer-funded subsidies, hefty EV sticker prices, a massive overhaul of infrastructure, or the critical minerals plight, this forced transition places heavy and unfair burdens on the American consumer.
The consumer knows best what type of car fits his needs; those in Washington, nor state legislatures, do not. Let the market decide.
If something has to be mandated, it’s not a good idea.
Kristen Walker is a policy analyst for the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit www.theamericanconsumer.org or follow us on Twitter @ConsumerPal.