Not long ago, pundits were telling us that gasoline-powered cars would soon vanish from the streets, replaced by sleek, space-age vessels powered by electricity. But consumer demand for electric cars never matched the hype.
Fewer drivers are interested in electric vehicles today than ever before, according to a new survey. This is further confirmed by Hertz’s recent announcement that it is selling 20,000 electric cars in its fleet.
The most obvious reason for consumer disenchantment is the hassle of charging EVs. Few drivers are willing to plan their lives around finding a charging station and waiting around for their battery to top up.
During the nation’s recent Arctic blast, motorists found that getting a full charge took even longer. In frigid weather, fragile EV batteries are forced to drain their own power to maintain warmth.
No matter how many subsidies and regulations the federal government pushes onto the market, consumers prefer gasoline’s convenience and reliability. They are also waking up to the fact that EVs have not delivered on their highly anticipated environmental promise.
Cobalt, an essential component of EV batteries, is primarily mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in mines owned and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Children as young as four labor in toxic dust, earning just a dollar or two a day. The cobalt is then shipped to China for refining. After all this, only about 5 percent of lithium ion batteries are recycled.
Even the “zero-emission” label is misleading. Overwhelmingly, it is coal and natural gas that generate electricity for EVs. While federal and state subsidies have attempted to force an energy transition, renewables make up barely a quarter of the national grid. That’s why a colleague of mine ironically drives an electric vehicle emblazoned with a bumper sticker reading, “Can’t roll without oil, gas, and coal.”
Finally, Americans are beginning to realize that the sticker price of electric vehicles — made attractive by generous subsidies on the taxpayers’ dime — are pushing most of the cost down onto those who can least afford it.
Completely ignored in the recent Senate Energy & Natural Resources hearing on Federal Electric Vehicle Incentives is the fact that every EV sold places nearly $50,000 in additional costs on taxpayers. This is according to first-of-its-kind research that a colleague and I have published. That total cost was $21 billion in 2021 — money the taxpayers would certainly prefer to have back.
It’s not just our tax return that suffers from the government playing favorites with EVs. Home and public charging stations also place a significant strain on the electric grid, resulting in an average of $11,833 in socialized costs per vehicle over 10 years. Those costs are shouldered by us through our electricity bills.
We should be deeply concerned about rising utility costs. These are no mere nuisance; in some cases, they can be deadly. The Energy Information Administration reports that 27 percent of American households struggled to afford their home energy bills. Almost as many skipped out on necessities such as prescription refills or grocery runs in order to make ends meet, kept their home at an unsafe temperature, or received a shutoff notice. And that is based on 20202 numbers, from before “Bidenflation” had hit Americans’ pocketbooks.
President Biden and his bureaucrats are scratching their heads, wondering why their constituents still cling to their gas-powered cars. But the reasons are clear. Electric cars are inferior products. They are also bad for the environment and damaging to the economy in hidden ways that their biggest cheerleaders have not been honest about.
The Biden administration should get out of the way and let the free market tell auto dealers what it is consumers want.