Issues & Insights

You Were Warned: Automakers Team Up With Biden To Force Electric Cars On Consumers

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In eight years, half of American car buyers will be forced to purchase overpriced, underperforming electric cars they don’t want, courtesy of the federal government and a compliant auto industry. That, at least, is what President Joe Biden announced at the White House on Thursday, and it’s just as we predicted in this space three months ago.

With a wave of his pen, Biden ordered that 50% of new cars and trucks sold by 2030 are to be electric. Since the auto companies already have their 2022 model year cars in production, that means they have less than eight years to figure out how to comply with the most massive, disruptive, and anti-consumer mandate ever to come out of Washington.

The automakers have only themselves to blame for that. As we noted in early May, they’d already caved to the green police and announced ambitious plans to electrify their fleets, even though consumers have little interest in buying battery-powered cars.

Despite massive taxpayer rebates handed out to electric car buyers, a multitude of subsidized recharging stations, and the constant talk about how electric automobiles will save the planet, sales of plug-ins accounted for a tiny 2% of all cars sold in the U.S. last year.

GM sold twice as many of its gas-guzzling Silverado pickups in 2020 as the combined sales of every company’s electric cars. Electric vehicles, in other words, are still very much a niche product. And for good reason. Owning one means hunting for recharging stations, waiting interminably for the battery to recharge, and confining yourself to short trips – shorter still if you have to turn on the A/C or the heater.

It’s the impracticality of these cars that explains why a fifth of electric vehicle owners in California reported trading them in for automobiles with good-old internal combustion engines.

Given this strong consumer disinterest, the only way automakers could justify dumping massive amounts of money into electric car R&D was on the promise that the government would require Americans to buy them. We said that:

If consumers continue to flock to the remaining gas-powered cars available to them, the only way to stop such ‘misbehavior’ would be to have the government outlaw the sale of such cars.

Sure enough, that’s just what happened on Thursday, when in coordination with the White House, General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis (the company that now owns what’s left of Chrysler) announced “their shared aspiration to achieve sales of 40-50% of annual U.S. volumes of electric vehicle by 2030 in order to move the nation closer to a zero-emissions future.”

Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, and Volvo issued a separate statement singing the praises of Biden’s draconian mandate, as did the beleaguered dictator in training also known as California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said that “the climate emergency demands no less.”

These auto giants admit full well that a “dramatic shift” the electric car sales from 2% today to 50% in a relative blink of an eye won’t be driven by consumer demand.

In fact, the Big Three U.S. automakers state that this massive transition “can be achieved only by the timely deployment of the full suite of electrification policies committed to by the (Biden) administration in the Build Back Better Plan, including purchase incentives, a comprehensive charging network of sufficient density to support the millions of vehicles these targets represent, investments in R&D, and incentives to expand the electric vehicle manufacturing and supply chains in the United States.”

In other words, massive taxpayer subsidies. Biden wants to dump $174 billion – with a B – to pay for subsidies, grants, and tax incentives to car buyers, to build electric charging stations, and to replace the entire federal fleet of cars and trucks, including all those used by the already financially desperate U.S. Postal Service.

So, what Biden and the industry are teaming up to accomplish will not only harm consumers, who will be denied the full range of choices they have now, but also taxpayers, who will have to pay for an unprecedented experiment in industrial policy.

And for what? What will all this disruption, inconvenience, cost, and taxpayer money gain us?

Absolutely nothing.

Even if Biden were to achieve this dream, working arm-in-arm in fascistic fashion with automakers, it would barely make a dent in global oil demand and have no measurable impact on global temperatures.

A Manhattan Institute study found that “Optimists forecast that the number of EVs in the world will rise from today’s nearly 4 million to 400 million in two decades. A world with 400 million EVs by 2040 would decrease global oil demand by barely 6%.”

That’s to say nothing of the fact that battery manufacturing at the scale needed would have its own huge environmental impacts, and the phenomenal increase in demand for electricity would come at a time when Biden is also trying to force power companies to abandon fossil fuels.

For climate alarmists, this is a dream worth pursuing. For automakers, it signals their complete surrender to government autocrats. For everyone else, it will just be a nightmare.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

21 comments

  • The ultimate goals is to get us all out of our cars and into either mass transit or just staying home. The idea that the govmint is going to “build” 500,000 charging stations across America in 8 years is fantastical, at best. We will be like Cuba by 2030, if not sooner, holding on to our vintage cars.

    • And where do these brain dead fools think the energy will come from? You all had better Invest in Tow truck companies because the road sides will be jam packed with vehicles out of back up gas and dead batteries. WG

  • The subsidies have to pass both Houses of Congress. After the expected landslide of 2022, Republicans can block the subsidies by just saying no. If that bankrupts the car companies, it will be too bad, but they asked for it. Of course Republicans would have to have the guts to say no. After the infrastructure deal, it seems unlikely. The 2020 landslide would have to be folowed by a 2024 wipeout to make a rejection of electric cars possible.

  • Another Solar Energy boondoggle. Automakers act like altruistic leaders, Government pretends to be philanthropic with OUR money, and in eight years and two major elections it will s*ht the bed. Oh what fools we are,

  • So why should they care? John Kerry told us he’s justified flying in his private jet because he’s so important. Everyone else in gvt and celebrity will do the same. And they’ll keep telling you it’s your responsibility to degrade your standard of living right back to the Stone Age.

  • Everything old, is new again! Another new 10-year plan, Comrade Citizen. The old Soviet, Central European communist-style central planning diktats are alive and kicking in the USA. Comrade Brezhnev is back in charge, and being channeled in the White House by Uncle Joe Biden. The ruling party loves its mandates, and this should rank up there with the Obamacare health insurance mandates. Fast-tracking works too, for vaccines and the new vehicle mileage tax that is a hidden part of the electric vehicle price tag to pay for all those roads, bridges and human infrastructure (welfare largess).

    California has electric power shortages and frequent blackouts, as being “green” under the Numbskull Governor includes closing the state’s no-carbon nuclear and fossil fuel power plants. Energy self-sufficiency in reverse, relying on more-expensive imported electric power. The state is also denying new fracking permits in the Bakersfield energy-production hub, as reliance on imported energy and electric vehicles theoretically ends the need for oil production. Brilliant strategy -not! Imagine climbing into your government-mandated electric vehicle, to quickly obey mandatory California wildfire evacuation orders. Your electric vehicle “Alexa-equivalent” soothingly purrs: “No power, please recharge the vehicle battery for 3-5 hours before restarting.” Time to simplify your life, and practice some socialist-style “equity” by letting your “material things” burn in the frequent California wildfires. Hop on the on the old skateboard and escape with your life, and you will be a better, more-equal comrade in the AOC-Pelosi-Schumer mandated socialist paradise where Retro is “in” and Common Sense is “out”.

  • What a snarky comment against Chrysler. Stellantis, with their Chrysler, Fiat, Peugeot, Opel, Renaut, Maserati, and Citron brands had 75 billions euros of sales in the first half of 2021.

    The rest of the article is spot on.

  • It’s non-binding. No one will be forced to do anything. Plus they are including vehicles that aren’t purely EVs including plug-in hybrids and Fuel Cell vehicles.

    What will hopefully happen is that the US Auto Industry will be able to produce a wider variety of EVs at a lower cost, – giving consumers more choices, not less.

    And if we’re going to be realistic, either we help the US auto industry get there or just accept that fact that the EVs we will be driving in the future will be produced elsewhere. China is not shy about investing money in markets it wants to control, including EVs

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/24/why-china-is-so-far-ahead-of-the-us-when-it-comes-to-ev-production-.html

    Like it or not, EVs and electrification are coming. You either drag your feet and let others dictate what that future will look like, or be a player in that world.

    This article makes me wonder if any of the editorial board have ever driven an EV like a Tesla or even a Chevy Bolt. They perform extremely well, – very fun to drive. By nature EVs are much less complicated and in the long run will be cheaper to own and maintain. This will be a benefit to consumers.

    Like incandescent bulbs, there will be a need for some ICE vehicles well into the future. But EVs will be the preferred option before long, – just like LED bulbs.

    • That’s all well and good, but if this is the case, they need to stop pushing that they are “green” – because they are anything BUT…plus there’s that little child/slavery/labor issue…

    • If electric vehicles were as good as you say, they wouldn’t need government subsidies and mandates to survive. The free market would push them to the top. However, because of their numerous drawbacks, full on electric vehicles are only about 2% of US cars on the road currently.

      Regulating fracking to death, while we simultaneously convert to all electric cars and transition to all renewable electricity, doesn’t add up.

      About 98% of US cars on the road use gasoline or diesel. About 95% of US natural gas production involves fracking. Roughly 62% of US electricity is generated using fossil fuel, and another 20% uses aging nuclear plants.

      To do the Green New Deal, we have to replace 82% of our electricity generation capacity, because it’s not renewable. On top of that, we need to add enough capacity to charge the 98% of the cars we’re replacing. On top of that, we need to add the generating capacity to heat and to cook with elictricity in the homes that now use natural gas. So we need at least triple the electricity generating capacity we have now, built brand new with new rewewable technology.

      In addition to that, building all electric vehicles requires over a hundred times the amount of lithium and other rare earth minerals we mine and refine today. Rare earth mining in the US was shut down decades ago when environmental regulation made it unprofitable. Are mean green environmentalists going to loosen regulations to allow more rare earth mining? Permit me to doubt it.

      The whole Green New Deal scheme fails a basig back-of-the-envelope calculation. It’s completely fantasy science fiction. It will destroy our economy, and our quality of life. Just say no. Vote Republican.

    • I think you miss the point. It’s not EV’s that the writers disapprove of. It’s government mandates. Better to let the marketplace decide what choices are viable. And keep the federal government focused on the few things it’s actually asked to do.

  • Electric cars are simply better. Far fewer moving parts. Easy to charge while you sleep, and except for those that drive all day long, fit the needs for daily driving. And fast. Did I mention fast? = fun

    • If electric cars are so much better, why do they need government mandates and subsidies to compete in the marketplace?

    • EV is faster 0 to 60. Race your Tesla in Detroit Chicago Detroit in my 2008 gas car.

  • I have two Priuses for long trips and a Chevy Bolt for all the around town errands. The big purpose of the EV is to take the wear of short trips off my gas cars. But I enjoy the EV more than my Prius. The low maintenance, the fast acceleration, the quietness so I can enjoy my Bose system and the fact that I bypass the gas station and gas taxes are great advantages. Once you experience an EV, you will wonder why we have the cost and complexity of the ICE and how crazy it is to convert a liquid to propulsion now that we have this alternative. And I’m not some PBS Liberal or tree hugger. Here in SoCal, I can see the writing on the wall. Calif doesn’t like gas cars. And they are going to make your life inconvenient and expensive to drive them.

    • If you live in rural Montana, or even Northern California, electrick cars and hybrids don’t make any sense. If you live in a studio appartment with on street parking, and can afford only one used car, EVs and hybrids ain’t affordable and there’s no place to plug them in. Not everyone can afford 3 cars in a garage. Mandating EVs for everyone is very expensive, unaffordable hubris, only a true Socialist could love.

  • No Consumer Freedom under the Dictator forced to drive electric cars all over this Global Warming/Climate Change Lie Q.How do you spell Relief? A.I.M.P.E.A.C.H.-B.E.D.E.N. and Haaris as well Vote them all off the island

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