Increasingly, Americans are rejecting the Biden administration’s net-zero central planning initiatives that aim to electrify transportation and home heating, while transforming our electric grid to wind and solar power.
Recently, this rejection has come in the form of a reluctance to buy electric vehicles (EVs) despite numerous government subsidies and mandates, and in the form of towns and counties prohibiting wind and solar projects in their communities.
Automotive dealers, staring at swelling inventories of unsold EVs on their lots, joined together to petition President Joe Biden to drop the mandates that are part of his plan to force America’s cars and trucks onto the electric grid.
“Last year, there was a lot of hope and hype about EVs [and] early adopters formed an initial line and were ready to buy these vehicles as soon as we had them to sell,” they wrote in their letter, which was signed by 3,882 dealerships. “But that enthusiasm has stalled. Today, the supply of unsold BEVs [battery electric vehicles] is surging, as they are not selling nearly as fast as they are arriving at our dealerships—even with deep price cuts, manufacturer incentives, and generous government incentives.”
“Mr. President, it is time to tap the brakes on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate,” the letter stated.
The average sticker price of EVs has come down more than $10,000 this year, according to a report by Cox Automotive, due to seller discounts and a reduction in the cost of material inputs. Many EV owners have been highly satisfied with the convenience and performance of their cars, particularly people who have short commutes, can charge EVs in their garages overnight or at work, and have a second car for longer trips.
According to a report by Cox Automotive, electric vehicle sales are increasing and will likely reach 1 million vehicles sold in 2023. EVs accounted for 7.9 percent of cars sold in Q3, up from 6.1 percent the prior year.
Car Buyers Skeptical About EVs
But despite numerous federal incentives and subsidies for EV buyers, as well as looming blue-state bans on the sale of gasoline-powered cars and trucks, many consumers remain unwilling to take the bait.
The car dealers that petitioned President Biden said they’re happy to sell whatever products customers want, but most car buyers haven’t been willing to make the switch.
“The adoption of EVs is not there, and the only reason this is happening is government mandates,” a Tennessee car dealer who spoke anonymously told The Epoch Times. “There are 50 reasons not to buy an EV and only one to produce EVs. That’s pretty bad odds, wouldn’t you agree?”
Among the reasons dealers cite are that EVs are still too expensive for most buyers, many of whom do not have garages to charge them in, or access to public charging stations.
In addition, they said, customers worry about the loss of driving range in cold or hot weather. And many have long daily commutes and can’t spare the time it takes to charge the battery.
“Truck buyers are especially put off by the dramatic loss of range when towing,” the dealers wrote. “Today’s current technology is not adequate to support the needs of the majority of our consumers.
“With each passing day, it becomes more apparent that this attempted electric vehicle mandate is unrealistic, based on current and forecasted customer demand,” the dealers stated. “Already, electric vehicles are stacking up on our lots, which is our best indicator of customer demand in the marketplace.”
Another issue that EV owners may face is reliability. According to a November study by Consumer Reports, many EVs are less reliable than internal combustion vehicles or hybrids. This study collected data on more than 330,000 vehicles, from the 2000 to 2023 model years, and looked at both the number and severity of repair issues. Because of the growing number of EVs on the road, the report included items such as electric motors, EV/hybrid batteries, and EV charging systems.
The top 5 most reliable brands were Lexus, Toyota (which owns Lexus), Mini (owned by BMW), Acura, and Honda (which owns Acura). While these carmakers also manufacture EVs, Toyota has stood out among its peers as an EV skeptic, saying that consumers should choose what technology they want, and the company has focused on hybrids for those who prioritize reducing CO2 emissions.
Tesla, the best-selling EV company, ranked 14th in the study. Rivian, the other EV maker to place in the top 30, came in at 28th.
“Overall, hybrids have 26 percent fewer problems than cars powered by internal combustion engines,” the report states. But EVs have 79 percent more problems than gasoline-powered vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles performed the worst, with 146 percent more problems than internal combustion vehicles, the report said.
The battery in a hybrid car recharges via the gas-powered engine. A plug-in hybrid battery is the primary power source for the car and it needs to be recharged by plugging it into an external power source.
And while EVs are claimed to be cheaper to maintain because they have fewer moving parts, they tend to be much more expensive to repair if they’re in an accident. This makes them, on average, 23 percent more expensive to insure than gasoline-powered cars.
Central Planning for Net-Zero
Despite this, the Biden administration continues to expand its national industrial policy to transition Americans from gasoline cars to EVs. This policy features tough new limits on CO2 tailpipe emissions for carmakers, set by the Environmental Protection Agency, to force about two-thirds of new car and truck fleets to be zero-emission by 2032.
It also features taxpayer funded investments in EV charging stations, as well as federal and state subsidies for construction of EV manufacturing plants. In addition, many electric utilities are investing in the construction of EV charging stations, and passing that cost on to consumers in the form of higher electricity bills.
On April 17, the White House announced President Biden’s goal of “having 50 percent of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030,” which includes “public and private commitments to support America’s historic transition to electric vehicles under the EV Acceleration Challenge.”
A June 23 White House fact sheet states: “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, rising demand for EVs, and investment from private firms, the public sector, and electric utilities, nearly $24 billion has already been committed for public charging infrastructure through 2030.
“We are on track to achieve President Biden’s visionary goal of 500,000 public chargers and we will keep going even further by harnessing private investment to meet the nation’s EV charging needs identified in the study,” the White House stated. “This shows how effectively the Biden-Harris Administration has catalyzed private investment in a race to line our highways and roads with public chargers.”
One study suggests that, due to these central planning programs, Americans are chipping in an average of $48,000 for every EV sold, whether they buy them or not. An October report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, titled “Unmasking the True Costs of Electric Vehicles,” states that the actual cost of EVs is being obscured by “socialized” subsidies, money transfers, and other expenses that are being passed on to the public at large.
An average EV, with a current sticker price of about $53,000, would cost about $100,000, “if these subsidies were rolled into the retail price of the car instead of being socialized to the rest of us,” the report’s co-author Brent Bennett told The Epoch Times.
Despite the numerous subsidies, however, many carmakers and dealers continue to lose money on their EVs. Ford revealed in October that its EV division posted a quarterly loss of $1.33 billion, and lost $1.08 billion in the previous quarter. GM announced that losses in its EV division contributed to a $1.5 billion reduction in profits this quarter.
Carmakers are responding by cutting back production of EVs. Ford said that production of the electric Mustang Mach-E was being put on hold and that it’s pausing its planned $12 billion investment in new EV production. GM’s CEO Mary Barra announced that GM is backing off from its production targets of 500,000 EVs over the next 12 months.
Mercedes CFO Harald Wilhelm stated on Oct. 26 that the EV market is “a pretty brutal space.”
Some industry analysts question whether the Biden administration’s targets of more than 60 percent of new car sales for EVs is achievable within the next decade.
According to a February poll by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute, only 19 percent of respondents said they were “very” or “extremely” likely to buy an EV. About half said they wouldn’t buy an EV because of the high cost, limited range, and worries about not being able to charge them reliably.
Some industry analysts argue that EVs are a niche product for the wealthy, and that they will struggle to dominate the auto industry. They are convenient for suburban drivers who have short commutes and can charge them overnight in their homes or at the office during the day, often as a second car.
According to a recent survey by J.D. Power, the majority of EV buyers are male millennials, with an average credit score of 788. Only 28.5 percent of EV buyers in 2022 were women.
Meanwhile, more than 600 towns across the United States have so far blocked or banned big solar and wind projects and other renewable energy ventures that they believe will damage local environments, according to the Renewable Rejection Database, compiled by journalist and author Robert Bryce. In October alone, seven towns approved measures to halt wind and solar projects in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
“It’s about property values, it’s about maintaining the character of their neighborhoods in their towns, in their counties,” Mr. Bryce told The Epoch Times. “And this is something that has been happening from Maine to Hawaii.
“It’s been happening for a decade, but you won’t read about it in The New York Times because it doesn’t fit this narrative about, quote, green energy,” he said.
Europe Puts On the Brakes
Biden’s push for EVs and other net-zero mandates comes as many European governments, which are decades ahead of the United States in the transition, have been backpedalling.
In September, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delayed a ban on gasoline-powered cars and gas boilers because these net zero climate goals imposed “unacceptable costs” on British families. Also in September, French President Emmanuel Macron dropped France’s ban on gas boilers because “we cannot leave our compatriots, particularly in the most rural areas, without a solution.”
And while several states, including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington, are implementing bans on the sale of gasoline-powered cars, Connecticut has dropped its efforts to impose such a mandate.
On Nov. 28, Democrat Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he will withdraw his plan to tie his states regulations to those of California, which is banning the sale of internal combustion vehicles by 2035. According to California’s Advanced Clean Cars II regulations, 35 percent of new cars and light trucks sold in 2026 must be zero-emissions at the tailpipe; 68 percent must be zero-emissions by 2030; and 100 percent must be zero-emissions by 2035.
If Americans were to transition to EVs in significant numbers, there is also the issue of whether they will be able to charge them. According to the North American Electricity Reliability Corp. (NERC), charging an EV requires as much electricity as 2.5 home HVAC units. Currently, peak demand for American utilities occurs in summer when people run their air conditioning.
A report from Kevala, a grid analytics company, states that California will have to spend up to $50 billion by 2035 to add enough capacity to meet its EV goals, further increasing Californians’ electric bills, which are already twice as high as the national average. And many analyses of energy use say that, for the grid to handle the projected increased demand, EV drivers should only charge at night when overall demand is lower, potentially limiting use of electric vehicles to those who can charge in their garages or are nocturnal.
Despite what Americans are being told to do, or paid to do, by government for its transition to net-zero, they appear to have minds of their own.
“Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us,” the car dealers told the administration. “We talk to customers every day.”