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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, May 26, 2024

Op-ed: Dear EPA, keep your paws off Americans’ cars

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In 2022, electric cars made up 7% of all new car sales in the United States. Furthermore, the average new electric vehicle costs nearly $59,000 in March 2023, about $11,000 more than the industry average, according to Kelley Blue Book. Yet, despite these low numbers, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to tell you and your family what type of car to buy — and it’s not one from the 93%. Just a few days ago, the EPA announced new regulations for a massive reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks sold after 2027, effectively mandating that over half of all new vehicles in 2032 be electric. The announcement has leading automakers putting pedal to the metal to shift their vehicle portfolios to electric. What does all of this show? Just how radical Biden’s environmental, social and governance agenda really is.

First, let’s talk about the financial burden for Americans. If I were to ask you what comes to mind when you think about EVs, Tesla is probably top of your list. As many know, Tesla is the EV titan responsible for creating upscale electric cars and solar panels. Though Tesla’s prices are coming down, their cars still tend to be pricey for average Americans. According to a recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, only 19% of adults in the US said they were “very” or “extremely” likely to buy an electric car as their next car whereas nearly 50% said they were not likely to go electric. Of the latter, six in 10 said it was due to financial reasons with another quarter citing financial burden as a minor reason. Furthermore, new rules proposed by the U.S. Treasury Department might mean that fewer EVs will qualify for the current $7,500 federal subsidy. Many vehicles will instead only qualify for half of the normal subsidy, $3,750, an amount that may not provide enough motivation to switch from a gas-powered car to an EV. In summary, Americans are not willing to face the high costs of EVs, and federal policies aren’t helping.

Second, let’s talk about electricity. It lights our homes, powers our appliances and devices, and is vital for modern medical devices. In the same AP poll, the second most popular reason why Americans will not buy an EV is because there are too few charging stations. A very valid point that the Biden administration acknowledged in the 2021 infrastructure bill, allocating $5 billion to building new and renovating existing EV charging stations. Biden also set a goal of building 500,000 new EV charging stations. The U.S. grid runs on oil and gas, and it would almost certainly need major updates and improvements to account for the sharp demand increase in electricity for EVs. 

Finally, let’s talk about inflation. I am not going to delve into the causes of inflation because that could be a whole other article, but a key result of inflation is the rise in gas prices. Last year, some areas of California saw prices at the pump north of $7. These elevated prices provided a source of motivation for consumers to look into EVs and save money on gas. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, the Consumer Price Index for March 2023 stood at 5%, down from around the 8% high of last year. Gas prices are coming down, and thus the motivation for consumers to switch to EVs is dwindling. Demand for EVs is also falling due to decreased government EV subsidies, as I mentioned earlier. While inflation is down for now, because of Biden’s war against American energy, the United States is more vulnerable to foreign oil policies.

The International Energy Agency’s recent announcement that OPEC is planning to cut oil production sent shockwaves through the market, largely because analysts had predicted that we need more oil to match rebounding demand from China and prevent prices from rising. Though the risk of rising inflation might motivate Americans to purchase an EV, the EPA and Biden administration’s planned rollout of EVs will also make the United States more dependent on China, a troubling reality given the recent spy balloons. U.S. supply chains are also not where they need to be to support the EV rollout. As long as OPEC is in control of the United States’ oil consumption, and Biden continues his seemingly endless spending, inflation will always be a risk factor. 

Taking a step back, what should we take away from all of this? First, it demonstrates how hypocritical Biden’s climate agenda is: He wants more people to have EVs yet he’s cutting the amount they can receive from subsidies. Second, Biden and the EPA are forcing this on people. This is key because Americans should be able to freely make the choice to purchase an EV. These EPA policies, which will take effect in 2027, will result in EVs making up the majority of new vehicles. Does the Biden administration want Americans to sacrifice their financial well-being for the sake of the climate agenda? Lastly, I would argue that this policy rollout shows Biden’s desperation. Biden’s recent polling shows that he is losing young voters, with 26% of those under 35 saying Biden deserves reelection. Passing climate legislation might be the first step in getting them back on his side. After all, his army of influencers surely won’t win him the White House in 2024.