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Electric vehicle mandates mean misery all around

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From the Fraser Institute

By Matthew Lau

The latest news of slowing demand for electric vehicles highlight the profound hazards of the federal government’s Soviet-style mandate that 100 per cent of new light-duty vehicles sold must be electric or plug-in hybrid by 2035 (with interim targets of 20 per cent by 2026 and 60 per cent by 2030, with steep penalties for dealers missing these targets).

The targets were wild to begin with—as Manhattan Institute senior fellow Mark P. Mills observed, bans on conventional vehicles and mandated switches to electric mean, in jurisdictions such as Canada, “consumers will need to adopt EVs at a scale and velocity 10 times greater and faster than the introduction of any new model of car in history.”

Indeed, when the Trudeau government announced its mandate last December, conventional vehicles accounted for 87 per cent of the market, and today the mandated switch to electric looks even more at odds with actual consumer preferences. According to reports, Tesla will cut its global workforce by more than 10 per cent (or more than 14,000 employees) due to slowing electric vehicle demand.

In Canada, a Financial Post headline reads, “‘Tall order to ask the average Canadian’: EVs are twice as hard to sell today.” Not only has Tesla’s quarterly sales declined, Ford Motor Co. announced in April it will delay the start of electric vehicle production at its Oakville plant by two years, from 2025 to 2027.

According to research from global data and analytics firm J.D. Power, it now takes 55 days to sell an electric vehicle in Canada, up from 22 days in the first quarter of 2023 and longer than the 51 days it takes a gasoline-powered car to sell. This is the result, some analysts suggest, of a lack of desirable models and high consumer prices—and despite federal subsidies to car buyers of up to $5,000 per electric vehicle and additional government subsidies in six provinces, as high as $7,000 in Quebec.

Similarly in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports that on average, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids sit in dealer lots longer than gasoline-powered cars and hybrids. Again, that’s despite heavy government pressure to switch to electric—the Biden administration mandated two-thirds of new vehicles sold must be electric by 2032.

In both Canada and the U.S., politicians banning consumers from buying vehicles they want and instead forcing them to buy the types of vehicles that run contrary to their preferences, call to mind famed philosopher Adam Smith’s “man of system,” described in his 1759 book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

The man of system, Smith explained, “is apt to be very wise in his own conceit” and “seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess–board.” But people are not chess pieces to be moved around by a hand from above; they have their own agency and if pushed by the “man of system” in a direction opposite to where they want to go, the result will be misery and “society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.”

That nicely sums up the current government effort to mandate electric vehicles contrary to consumer preferences. The vehicle market is in a state of disorder as the government tries to force people to buy the types of cars many of them do not want, and the outcomes are miserable all around.

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‘Save Our Cars’ Is A Winning Campaign Message In An Age Of EV Mandates

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By KEVIN MOONEY

 

Automobile consumers who treasure the open roads during the summertime could upend the presidential campaign and U.S. Senate races in surprising places if public opposition to electric-vehicle mandates and other regulations continues to rise.

That is what some recent polls suggest and it certainly helps to explain why the Biden administration is poised to artificially reduce fuel prices by selling one million barrels of gasoline from an energy reserve in New England timed with the summer driving season and in anticipation of the November elections.

Since the East Coast consumed in excess of three million barrels a day of gasoline last June, it is not evident that having an additional one million barrels on the market will make an appreciable difference.

Moreover, there is an argument to be made that by tapping into the reserve Team Biden is leaving the region open to cyberattacks that would disrupt energy supplies. (Recall, that is precisely what happened throughout the southeast in 2021 when a ransomware attack hit the Colonial Pipeline.)

But even in the absence of any cyber drama, the cumulative effect of President Joe Biden’s anti-energy agenda is already registering with consumers who benefit from affordable, reliable energy. This is particularly true where conventional, gas-powered cars are concerned.

On holiday weekends, cars erase differences, bring families together and improve the quality of life. The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts almost 50 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes to celebrate Independence Day over the weekend of June 30 to July 4.

This would represent an increase of 3.7% from 2021 bringing travel volumes to where they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. This increase will be particularly acute with AAA expecting 42 million Americans to hit the roads this coming Independence Day.

But what about those EV mandates?

President Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat, remain undeterred by the paucity of charging stations, the limited range of EV’s, their exorbitant costs, and the vulnerability of foreign supply chains leading back to China as they press ahead with new regulatory initiatives. Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency finalized a tailpipe emissions rule in March aimed at coercing automakers into selling more EVs while the California Air Resources Board is pressing ahead with a “zero emissions” rule the board approved last year to meet Newsom’s stated climate goals.

California is clearly working hand in glove with the Biden administration to achieve zero emissions goals for vehicles by 2035. This effort will most certainly limit consumer choice and raise costs.

Despite all the subsidies and regulatory schemes developed to favor EV’s, they represent only about 1% of the 290 million vehicles in the U.S. today. Meanwhile EV costs continue to soar.

Recent studies also show that EVs, on average, are more expensive to own and operate than their gas-powered counterparts. So how should consumers respond to the regulatory onslaught?

Enter the “Save Our Cars Coalition,” which includes 31 national and state organizations devoted to preserving the ability of consumers to select the vehicles most suitable to their needs.

Tom Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, a coalition member that favors free market energy policies, views cars as an integral component of American life. The Biden-Newsom regulations amount to what Pyle describes as “an assault on American freedom.”

“In a nation as expansive as the United States, cars are not merely vehicles, they are integral to the American way of life,” Pyle says. “They play a pivotal role in our daily lives, especially in suburban and rural settings. This modern-day prohibition would outlaw a product and a value–in this case, gasoline-powered cars and trucks that have created personal mobility on an unprecedented scale – that it cannot persuade people to forego themselves.”

The coalition is perfectly positioned to make EV mandates a campaign issue in areas where the affordability of cars capable of traversing long distances without frequent stops is very much on the minds of voters. State officials who continue to double-down on California-type regulations will only serve to bolster the coalition’s arguments.

By contrast, states that break free from California’s emissions standards could become surprisingly competitive in the presidential race. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, recently announced that he would end California’s EV mandate in his state by the end of this year. Although Virginia hasn’t backed a Republican for president since George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, polls show Biden and  Donald Trump are in a dead heat. The former, and perhaps future Republican president, is on record opposing Biden’s EV mandates.

By contrast, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2021, is moving full speed ahead with a California-type mandate requiring all new car sales to be electric by 2035. Polls show Murphy’s Jersey constituents are not keen on the policy change. In fact, more than half of state residents say they are not inclined to buy an electric car even with the mandates.

New Jersey has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George Bush Sr. won the state in 1988. But fresh polls show Biden leading Trump by just seven points in the Garden State. It is worth noting that New Jersey has a large block of unaffiliated voters that can be pliable in tight races such as the most recent gubernatorial campaign.

Murphy almost lost his re-election bid to Republican Jack Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman and businessman, who came within a few percentage points of pulling off an upset. Trump’s campaign rally in Wildwood, N.J., that attracted more than 100,000 people could also serve as a barometer for a potentially close election. A beach resort community, Wildwood is practically inaccessible without the kind of vehicles Biden and Newsom are attempting to ban.

The big prize though may be Pennsylvania where Trump is leading Biden in recent polls. There is also a competitive U.S. Senate race in that state between Sen. Robert Casey Jr., the Democratic incumbent, and Dave McCormick, the Republican challenger.

Polls show Casey is only ahead by six points. So far, Casey has been ducking and avoiding any questions about his position on EV mandates. With Trump already leading, and McCormick gaining in the Keystone State, anyone running on a platform of “Save Our Cars” could have a field day.

Kevin Mooney is the Senior Investigative Reporter at the Commonwealth Foundation’s free-market think tank and writes for several national publications. Twitter: @KevinMooneyDC

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Government subsidies cost more than EV capital investments

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling for an end to corporate welfare following today’s Parliamentary Budget Officer report showing government subsidies are 14 per cent more than the capital investments corporations are making in the electric-vehicle supply chain.

“Putting taxpayers on the hook for more money than these corporations are spending to build their own factories is an awful deal for ordinary Canadians,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “Taxpayers are being taken to the cleaners with this EV corporate welfare.”

The PBO released a report regarding recent government subsidies for EV factories.

“For the $46.1 billion in investments (capital expenses) across the EV supply chain, PBO estimates total corresponding government support (for capital and operating expenses) to be up to $52.5 billion, which is $6.3 billion (14 per cent) higher than announced investments,” according to the PBO report.

Of the $52.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies, the PBO estimates $31.4 billion is coming from the federal government and $21.1 billion is coming from provincial governments.

“These lopsided numbers show that these corporate handouts are nothing more than a vanity project for politicians,” said Jay Goldberg, CTF Ontario Director. “If these politicians want to grow the economy, they should cut taxes and red tape rather than make bad bets with taxpayers’ money.”

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