In the next couple of months, the Environmental Protection Agency will issue new fuel economy standards that could be impossible for carmakers to meet – without going electric. That, at least, is what President Joe Biden’s EPA Administrator Michael Regan is indicating.
In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Regan talked about imposing rules that meet
“the urgency of the climate crisis,” and “did not rule out future emissions requirements that create a de facto ban on new conventional, gasoline-powered automobiles, like an explicit phase-out ordered by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.”
Regan could, for example, require automakers to sell cars that get an average of 70 mpg – something that only electric cars could meet. The most fuel-efficient hybrid on the market tops out at 59 mpg. The most efficient gas-powered car – the tiny Mitsubishi Mirage – gets 39 mpg.
The prospect of a Biden ban on gas-powered vehicles shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. As we noted last year, Biden promised voters he would do just this – impose regulations on automakers that they could only meet by selling electric cars.
As a matter of fact, he promised that on his first day in office, he’d develop “rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions.”
Let’s leave aside the fact that there is no “climate crisis” that requires urgent responses. The term “climate crisis” is an invention of environmentalists to create a sense of panic. The science says that, at worst, there will be a gradual warming over the next 100 years – giving everyone plenty of time to make whatever adjustments are necessary.
Let’s leave aside, too, the fact that the environmental benefits of electric cars are wildly exaggerated. Studies that look at the entire lifecycle of vehicles – from manufacture to junkyard – find that electric cars can produce as much or more greenhouse gases as traditional cars.
Let’s also leave aside the fact that forcing a massive switch to electric cars will produce an enormous spike in the demand for electricity at a time when Biden is also planning to force utilities to ditch coal, oil, and natural gas for far less reliable “clean energy.”
The biggest problem with what Biden is planning is that car buyers don’t want electric vehicles.
Last year, consumers bought a grand total of 296,000 electric cars, which accounted for a mere 2% of all cars sold. By comparison, Chevy sold more than twice as many Silverado pickup trucks in 2020. (Which, by the way, get just over 20 mpg.)
Even in greener-than-thou-California – which plans to ban the sale of gas-powered cars in a little over a decade – electric cars comprised only 6% of car sales last year.
Biden’s plan, then, is to force consumers to buy cars that they don’t want or can’t afford – which is a hugely expensive proposition, not only for car buyers but also for taxpayers. Biden has already said he wants to spend almost $180 billion on electric car subsidies, including tax rebates, payments to owners who trade gas-powered cars for EVs, money to build charging stations, subsidies for battery makers, etc., etc.
And for what? Even if Biden could wave a magic wand and make the 275 million vehicles on the road battery-powered, the impact on global temperatures would be infinitesimal.
So why bother? Well, why does the left do anything? Because its primary goal is to control what we can do, what we can buy, how we live our lives. The “climate crisis” is just a convenient excuse.
The late great conservative icon M. Stanton Evans put it best: “Liberals don’t care what you do,” he quipped, “as long as it’s compulsory.”
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board