Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer wants to replace gasoline-burning automobiles with electric and hybrid vehicles across the country. It’s a meaningless gesture that will resolve nothing.
According to the Associated Press, the Senate minority leader is “proposing a $462 billion trade-in program to get millions of Americans out of climate-damaging gas vehicles and into electric or hybrid cars over the next decade.” The scheme would dole out “thousands of dollars” to every U.S. consumer who trades in their gasoline-burning car for an electric, hybrid or hydrogen cell car built in America.
A portion of that stunning sum, $17 billion, would be handed out to automakers, which are expected in return to “increase their production of electric cars, batteries and parts.” The carmakers will happily take the dollars, and the green lobby will approvingly nod. But the giveaway is an acknowledgment that consumer demand for EVs is so low the government has to pay off the industry to try to force technological advancement that is not being demanded by its customers, and can’t be rushed anyway simply by chasing it with taxpayers’ money. This is not the way policy should be made in America.
Other people’s money is no object in Washington, so Schumer is willing spend lavishly “to bring clean cars to all of America.” Therein, however, lies the “dirty” truth about electric vehicles and hybrids. Battery cars are not “zero emissions” automobiles any more than big-block V-8s from Detroit’s pre-catalytic converter era are.
The IFO Institute for Economic Research of Munich, for instance, has determined that “electric vehicles will barely help cut CO2 emissions in Germany over the coming years, as the introduction of electric vehicles does not necessarily lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from road traffic.”
Unless an EV receives 100% of its charge from a home or business that is 100% powered by renewable energy, it is not a zero-emissions vehicle. Charging stations and residential chargers are necessarily wired to power plants that use fossil fuels to generate electricity. The exceptions to this are almost zero.
Yet even those exceptions don’t magically turn EVs into zero-emissions vehicles. Carbon dioxide and real pollutants are generated along the course of EV production, from the extraction of raw materials used to build the cars to moving those resources to factories.
“Even before their tires hit asphalt,” says the Pacific Research Institute, “they are belching emissions. Building a Tesla Model S P100D, for example, produces more than 12,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This includes emissions discharged in the mining and transportation of rare earths needed to produce electric cars’ hulking batteries.
“Meanwhile, production emissions from a gasoline-guzzling BMW 750i — 17 mpg city, 25 highway — are only 8,190 kilograms of CO2 equivalent. Building a gasoline-powered subcompact Mitsubishi Mirage emits a mere 4,752 kilograms of CO2 equivalent.”
The Mirage also lives a cleaner lifecycle, all the way to the lower emissions produced when it’s scrapped.
Schumer’s plan has more problems than the EVs’ dirty secret. Battery cars are so unpopular that governments have to bribe consumers to buy them. Then when the bribes — more officially known as taxpayer-funded subsidies — stop, sales drop.
After Denmark scrapped EV tax credits a few years back, Tesla’s sales plunged 94%, while in Hong Kong, they crashed by 95% “as the city got rid of comparable tax advantages for those buying electric cars,” says the Foundation for Economic Education.
More EVs are sold in California, the U.S. capital of sophomoric virtue signaling, than in the rest of the states combined. Yet fewer than eight of every 100 new cars sold in California is an EV or plug-in hybrid. Unhappy with choices being made by consumers, state lawmakers are considering tripling the EV purchase subsidy to $7,500 to increase sales.
In keeping with a grand Democratic tradition, Schumer hasn’t said how his uber-costly program will be funded. Secrecy is by now a nailed-down plank of the party whose presidential candidates keep throwing out programs that will cost trillions yet won’t tell voters how they’re going to pay for them.
While Schumer’s EV bribe, as well as the Green New Deal, have value in producing eco street cred, they lack practicality, and worse than being worthless, they’re punitively expensive. Though good left-wing politics, they’re also tributes to shallow thinking — a hallmark of today’s Democrats.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt
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