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Electric Vehicle Charger Subsidies Are Bad Energy Policy

By George LandrithNewslooks

electric vehicle

Both the so-called CLEAN Future Act and the Biden-Harris Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure package, if enacted, will impose upon America substantially more expensive and less reliable energy, and it will reduce job growth and economic expansion. This will be particularly harmful to the working poor who can least afford these burdens. 

We all want a clean future.  We all want clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a clean environment.  We also want our nation’s highways, bridges, airports and transportation infrastructure to be in good working order.  But the “CLEAN Future Act” and the Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure package do very little to ensure a clean environment, and precious little to build and maintain the nation’s highways, bridges, and airports. 

Just like with the recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus, less than 10% of these plans actually do what they say they will do. The bills are largely an excuse to pack the proposals with a grab bag of pork, waste, and extreme regulation that will do far more harm than any good they could possibly do. 

CLEAN Future Act

The House Energy and Commerce Committee put huge subsidies for Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers into its “CLEAN Future Act.” The Ways and Means Committee is devising new tax credits for EV chargers.  And in the Senate, a bill would increase EV tax credits by almost 700% at up to $200,000 per unit. 

One could argue that the intensions are good, but arguing that the impact will be good is very difficult.  We could spend trillions of dollars to pursue good intentions, but not actually do much to encourage a clean environment or keep energy costs reasonable for the working poor.  The marketplace will do a far better job of meeting our future needs and nimbly making adjustments to respond to changing needs.  

For example, putting hundreds of billions into charging stations may be a waste of money.  There are companies developing technology that would simply swap out an exhausted battery and swap it with a freshly charged one.  This could be done in minutes.  They would then charge your battery for another swap.  I’m not endorsing this technology.  I’m simply pointing out that we don’t yet know if consumers want EVs, and if they do, if they want to charge them for an hour or more or simply swap out the battery in an instant and continue driving, or maybe they want some mix of both.  The marketplace will figure this out.  But Government mandates will impose rigid mandates and lack the ability to balance consumer’s needs. 

The truth is government’s push to outlaw the internal combustion engine is typical of its myopic approach.  There are many ways to insure a clean environment.  Our cleaner burning fuels and cleaner operating engines have done more to give America cleaner air than EVs have done for the environment. 

Numerous problems with EV batteries

Numerous studies show that EVs have their own massive negative environmental impact.  The batteries EVs use are made from rare earth elements that must be mined and the manufacture of batteries produce acid waste and radioactive residues.  Plus, an immense amount of energy is required to refine and produce batteries. Another problem is what to do with the batteries once they’ve reached their life cycle end.  They are not environmentally friendly and won’t age well in landfills. 

So rather than pumping billions or even trillions of America’s hard-earned dollars into programs designed to force consumers into EVs, why not allow the natural maturation of technology to help us make wise choices in the future?  Perhaps EVs are the wave of the future.  Perhaps not.  Wouldn’t it be good to know the answer to that question before we force Americans to devote trillions of dollars into a technology that has not yet proven itself?  

Often we are told that we must act now because if we wait, it will be too late.  This is a conman’s pressure tactic.  Our air quality is improving and has been for a long time.  Additionally, America is one of the leading nations in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  It is also worth noting that carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant. Humans exhale carbon dioxide and plants require it to grow and photosynthesize. So we ought not make carbon dioxide an environmental villain.  It is required for life here on Earth. 

Before every committee in Congress and the Administration race to see who can throw the largest sums of taxpayer money at EVs and charging stations, let’s allow the technology to mature.  Let’s see if consumers want EVs.  Let’s see if EVs meet our transportation needs.  If they do, the marketplace can best figure out the way to charge or refuel an EV.  Government’s attempt to make these decisions before we know the answer to important questions insures that we will waste trillions of dollars promoting things that won’t pan out.  And that is money that cannot be invested in real solutions, real jobs or real infrastructure needs.  So we ought not be forced to rush when the conman tells us that time is running out. It isn’t. 


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