Electric cars are unaffordable for many Americans. Biden still tries to impose them

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On June 17, President Biden hosted a Major Economies Climate and Energy Forum (MEF), the third such meeting hosted by Biden during his presidency.

At the forum, which was held virtually, representatives from more than 20 governments (including China, the UK, India and Japan) discussed “pressing energy and food security concerns “.

The participants too describe their commitments to fight climate change, including pledges to “reduce methane emissions, accelerate the commercialization of essential technologies, put more zero-emission vehicles on the roads, decarbonize maritime transport and increase the efficiency of fertilizers and alternatives”.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House about the forum, at the event President Biden once again reiterated his commitment to dramatically increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on American roads, especially electric cars .

Earlier this year, Biden announced that his administration had set a objective that half of all new light-duty vehicles sold in 2030 will be ZEVs, including “battery electric, fuel cell electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles”.

At the Major Economies Forum, the Biden administration said the US government would achieve this ambitious plan by imposing far-reaching regulations that will force automakers to sell more electric and other “green” vehicles. Some of these regulations have already been put in place.

“To advance this goal in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation have worked closely together to finalize tougher vehicle standards through 2026 and are now considering ambitious standards up to 2026. in 2030 at least,” the White House said. statement Noted.

Biden’s policy forcing automakers to produce zero-emission vehicles will increase the cost of owning and driving a car, hurting low- and middle-income families the most.

Zero-emission vehicles remain expensive for many, and the purported financial benefits associated with owning them are far less than some think. This may explain why a study published in 2021 found that Americans considering the purchase of an electric vehicle have an average family income of $150,000, more than double the median American income.

There are several reasons why electric vehicles are more expensive to own than traditional gas-powered cars, but the most important is the purchase price. The average price of a new electric vehicle sold in February 2022 was $60,054, compared to $45,596 for all vehicles. But these figures are somewhat misleading, as the average cost of all vehicles also includes expensive electric cars. What’s more, these numbers don’t show that it’s possible to buy used gas-powered cars for much less than most low-end electric vehicles available.

For example, a review of used cars available at the popular online retailer carvana shows that in the Atlanta metro area, the most affordable used electric vehicle available with a 2018 or newer model year is around $50,000, and most are well over $60,000. Conversely, there are hundreds of used traditional vehicles for sale for less than $20,000.

Proponents of Biden’s plan to mandate zero-emission vehicles say these price differences are mostly offset by the costs associated with using these cars. For example, a recent NBC News report asserted that “energy costs” are “where EVs have a clear and growing advantage.”

“For example, the new Volkswagen ID.4 SUV, which starts at around $40,000, gets 250 miles per charge,” according to the NBC News report. “The average residential customer paying about 14 cents per kilowatt, it costs about $11 to fully charge the battery. In addition, some customers benefit from reduced billing rates. A comparable VW Tiguan SUV, which starts at around $26,000 and gets 26 mpg, would cost around $38 to fill up at $4 a gallon. If you put in 12,000 miles a year, you can expect to spend around $550 to power the ID.4, compared to $1,900 for the Tiguan.

Such arguments are common but misleading. For starters, there are plenty of gas-powered SUVs out there that perform better than the 26-mpg vehicle included in the example used by NBC News. For example, the 2022 Nissan Rogue averages 33 mpgand the 2022 Toyota Highlander, a non-plug-in hybrid, gets 36 mpg. And there are dozens of non-SUVs that perform even better. A 2022 Honda Civic is valued at 42 mpg on the highways.

Additionally, although the average national cost of electricity is around 14 cents per kilowatt, as NBC rightly reports, electricity prices vary widely from region to region. In many parts of the United States, electricity prices are well above 14 cents per kilowatt.

In New England, the average cost of electricity is 24.5 cents per kilowatt. In California, the most populous state, the average cost is 26.71 cents per kilowatt. And those costs would be higher if half of Americans used electric vehicles, because electricity consumption would necessarily skyrocket.

Once you take all of these considerations into account, it becomes clear that in many parts of the United States, including many of the most populated areas, the daily cost of operating a gas-powered car is equal or lower than that of an electric vehicle.

It’s also important to keep in mind that gasoline prices are at historic highs. In May, the average retail price of gasoline was $4.54. In May 2020, when President Trump was President, the average price of gasoline was $1.96. If President Biden were to enact pro-energy reforms, including policies that would dramatically increase domestic oil and gas drilling, there’s no reason energy prices shouldn’t fall to Trump-era levels. , especially once the conflict in Ukraine is over.

It is likely that EV manufacturers will continue to lower the cost of producing EVs in the years to come. But if the government allowed a truly free and fair market and adopted common-sense energy policies, gasoline-powered cars would remain the most affordable option for many years, if not decades.

The Biden administration knows this, but, in the end, it will pursue the course necessary to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, no matter how painful that is for American families.

Justin Haskin (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is director of the Socialism Research Center at the Heartland Institute and a New York Times bestselling author.

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