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?
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