Another Democrat war on consumers
For mobility, America in the 20th century lived through a transition from horses to fossil fuels. Except for supplying roads, the government was hardly involved. No coercion or subsidies were necessary. Private enterprise, the free market, voluntary exchange, and the profit motive were enough to provide the oil, oil refineries, and filling stations. And it all happened organically and without centralized control.
Government is far more powerful and intrusive than we would like it to be. Nevertheless, its power has limits, especially when its policy objectives are unrealistic or impossible.
The federal and some state governments have announced a goal of eliminating fossil fuel vehicles. The federal government is demanding that 67 percent of new vehicles sold be electric by 2032. California regulators recently voted unanimously to ban the sale of new diesel trucks as of 2036.
Electric vehicles have been available for several years. But so far, less than six percent of vehicles in the U.S. are electric. The percentage of electric trucks is close to zero.
The choices drivers now have before them are internal combustion engines (ICEs), electric vehicles (E.V.s), and hybrids of the two. Like all of life's choices, each has advantages and disadvantages. Most drivers are apparently quite satisfied with their ICE vehicles. As technology now stands, American drivers by an overwhelming margin see ICE vehicles as having a much better balance of pluses and minuses than E.V.s.
Why are E.V.s a hard sell for most Americans? Three disadvantages stand out — their lengthy battery-charging time, their limited range, and their high prices. It takes just minutes to refuel an ICE vehicle and hours to recharge an E.V. Most people feel pressed for time. That's a common cause of stress.
The limited range issue is a Catch-22. More charging stations would reduce the problem, but because there are so few E.V.s, it's difficult to make a profit building more stations.
Another strong headwind against the hopes for a massive transition is that the average price for E.V.s is more than twice as high as for ICEs. In spite of those high prices, or maybe because of them, Ford Motor Company just announced that it has lost over $60,000 for each of the E.V.s it has sold to date, with total losses so far of over $5 billion. How long can even woke corporations and their shareholders tolerate such losses? There have to be limits to what people will pay to virtue-signal.
In order to tolerate the charging time, the limited range, and the high-price downsides of E.V.s, you almost have to be a climate alarmist and feel guilty about causing a climate catastrophe. Polls indicate that few Americans are so inclined.
The Democrats' obsession with E.V.s is a big reveal about how they think, or more accurately, how they don't think. When they latch on to a new policy objective, they become monomaniacal. They're not interested in what Americans actually want. Democrats care not a whit about consumer sovereignty, but consumers still possess considerable power. In this latest Democrat war against us, we will likely see passive resistance soar like never before.
Ron Ross is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. He resides in Arcata, California and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . His website is rossecon.com.
Image via Hippopx.