Tag Archive for: EVs

‘He’s Not Wrong’: Margaret Brennan Presses Buttigieg On Trump’s Stance Over Electric Vehicles Purchased

CBS host Margaret Brennan pressed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on former President Donald Trump’s stance on the amount of electric vehicles (EVs) purchased, noting Sunday that Trump’s take wasn’t “wrong.”

Buttigieg appeared on “Face the Nation” to discuss President Joe Biden’s current push for the adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S., as well as campaign strategies for climate change. Brennan questioned the Secretary of Transportation on Trump’s campaigning against electric vehicles, playing a clip of the former president calling out that, while millions have been spent on subsidizing electric cars, only a low number of purchases has resulted.

“I want to ask you about something that we hear quite a lot about on the campaign trail and that is electric cars, electric vehicles. Donald Trump repeatedly talks about President Biden’s decision to force the industry towards making 56% of car batteries electric by 2032, 13% hybrid,” Brennan stated before playing a clip of the former president. “He’s not wrong on the purchasing.”

“Oh, he’s wrong,” Buttigieg responded.

“He’s not. Of the 4 million vehicles purchased, 269,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. market. It’s up like 2%,” Brennan stated.

“And every single year more Americans buy EVs than the year before. This is really important —” Buttigieg stated.

“But why aren’t we seeing it move more quickly —” Brennan jumped in.

“Every single year more Americans buy EVs than the year prior. There are two things that I think are needed for that to happen even more quickly. One is the price, which is why the Inflation Reduction Act acted to cut the price of an electric vehicle. The second is making sure we have the charging network we need across America. But I want to talk about the bigger point here, and I take this personally because I grew up in the industrial Midwest literally in the shadow of broken-down factories from car companies that did not survive into the turn of the century because they didn’t keep up with the times,” Buttigieg stated.

Brennan continued to push back on Buttigieg, stating “many of those autoworkers are concerned electric vehicles require fewer humans to manufacture,” to which Buttigieg responded that Biden was focused on making the “EV revolution” an “American-led” one.

“Because of these tariffs we’re talking about that President Biden says he’s going to roll out?” Brennan asked.

“Well, also just making sure we invest in America’s capacity. Making sure that we are on-shoring or friend-shoring the materials and the processing of what goes into these EVs — making sure that America masters these processes because, look, there’s no way that we’re going to get to the middle of this century with the technology that we counted on a century ago. Now there are, obviously, a lot of voices here in Washington who are interested in keeping the status quo,” Buttigieg stated.

“He says it’s going to be one of the first things he does, if he’s reelected,” Brennan responded.

“[Trump] would be happy to see Americans trapped with dirty and expensive fuels. The reality — and I know he’s made a lot of promises to the oil and gas CEOs about some of the favors that he believes his administration will deliver for them —” Buttigieg stated.

“But it obviously is resonating for him because he wouldn’t bring it up so frequently if there wasn’t some anxiety that he’s tapping into,” Brennan noted.

The Biden administration announced on May 14, 2024 that tariffs would be imposed on Chinese EVs. The move would quadruple levies to 100%, as well as raising certain rates for Chinese green energy and EV components such as minerals and batteries. The administration’s move follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision in late March 2024 to effectively require 67% of new models sold to be electric or hybrid by the end of 2032.

While recent data from Gallup shows the number of Americans who own electric vehicles has increased 4% from a year ago, fewer Americans are indicating they might consider buying an EV in the future. In 2023, 4% of Americans owned EVs, 12% stated they were “seriously considering buying” and 43% stated they “might consider in future” while 41% noted they would not be buying an EV, according to Gallup. Data from 2024. likewise, indicates that 7% currently own an EV, 9% are “seriously considering buying” and 35% “might consider in future” while 48% stated they would not buy one.

AUTHOR

HAILEY GOMEZ

General assignment reporter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Red States Slap California, Biden Admin With Lawsuits To Halt Electric Truck Push

Large coalitions of red states are suing regulators in Washington, D.C., and California over rules designed to effectively require increases in electric vehicle (EV) adoption.

Nebraska is leading a 24-state coalition in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently-finalized emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and a 17-state coalition suing the state of California in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California over its Advanced Clean Fleet rules. Both regulations would increase the number of heavy-duty EVs on the road, a development that could cause serious disruptions and cost increases across the U.S. economy, as supply chain and trucking sector experts have previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“California and an unaccountable EPA are trying to transform our national trucking industry and supply chain infrastructure. This effort—coming at a time of heightened inflation and with an already-strained electrical grid—will devastate the trucking and logistics industry, raise prices for customers, and impact untold number of jobs across Nebraska and the country,” Republican Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers said in a statement. “Neither California nor the EPA has the constitutional power to dictate these nationwide rules to Americans. I am proud to lead our efforts to stop these unconstitutional attempts to remake our economy and am grateful to our sister states for joining our coalitions.”

Heavy Duty Complaint by Nick Pope on Scribd

ACF Complaint by Nick Pope on Scribd

While specifics vary depending on the type of heavy-duty vehicle, EPA’s emissions standards will effectively mandate that EVs make up 60% of new urban delivery trucks and 25% of long-haul tractors sold by 2032, according to The Wall Street Journal. The agency has also pushed aggressive emissions standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles that will similarly force an increase in EVs’ share of new car sales over the next decade.

California’s Advanced Clean Fleet rules, meanwhile, will require that 100% of trucks sold in the state will be zero-emissions models starting in 2036, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). While not federal, the California rules are of importance to other states because there are numerous other states who follow California’s emissions standards, which can be tighter than those required by the EPA and other federal agencies.

Critics fear that this dynamic will effectively enable California to set national policies and nudge manufacturers in the direction of EVs at a greater rate and scale than the Biden administration is pursuing.

Trucking industry and supply chain experts have previously told the DCNF that both regulations threaten to cause serious problems for the country’s supply chains and wider economy given that the technology for electric and zero-emissions trucks is simply not yet ready to be mandated at scale, among other issues.

Neither CARB nor the EPA responded immediately to requests for comment.

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Ford Puts Dent In Biden’s Plans To Expand EVs

Ford Motor Corporation announced Thursday that it would be delaying the production of new electric vehicle (EV) models as domestic demand for electric cars falters, despite heavy federal investment.

Ford joined General Motors and Mercedes-Benz in reeling in its EV production strategy, pivoting instead to producing more hybrid vehicles, according to a Thursday press release. The high-profile retreats from the EV market follow billions in federal spending by the Biden administration aimed at supporting the industry.

“As the No. 2 EV brand in the U.S. for the past two years, we are committed to scaling a profitable EV business, using capital wisely and bringing to market the right gas, hybrid and fully electric vehicles at the right time,” Ford President and CEO Jim Farley said.

Ford’s EV division posted a $4.7 billion loss in 2023, before accounting for interest and taxes. The corporation’s gas and hybrid division, by contrast, posted a $7.5 billion profit, according to The New York Times.

“We have said our EV business needs to be profitable in its own right,” a Ford spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation, adding the delay of new models “support the development of a differentiated and profitable EV business over time.”

Auto manufacturers are responding to slowing growth in the EV sector.

EV sales only grew by 2.7% in the first quarter of 2024, a far cry from the 47% growth the vehicles saw in 2023, according to CBS News. Auto sales on the whole, meanwhile, grew by 5%.

“EV demand is growing, just at a slower rate than the industry forecast,” the Ford spokesperson said. “We expect continued growth in global Ford EV sales in 2024, though less than anticipated.”

General Motors and Mercedes-Benz have both delayed plans to transition to EV-only manufacturers.

As automakers retreat from EVs, and consumers react to them lukewarmly, taxpayers are left on the hook for the billions the Biden administration has spent subsidizing the vehicles.

The administration allocated $7.5 billion to build EV charging stations across the country, in accordance with the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill. Despite billions allotted, only seven stations have been built using those funds.

The Biden administration also made $12 billion available to automakers to repurpose existing factories to manufacture electric vehicles.

The White House wants 50% of all new cars sold by 2030 to be EVs. EVs only accounted for 7.1% of U.S. sales in the first quarter of 2024, down from the previous quarter, CBS News reported.

AUTHOR

ROBERT SCHMAD

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Biden Admin Touted EV Charging Company To Support Climate Agenda. Now, Its Stock Is Tanking

The Biden administration held up the electric vehicle (EV) charging company ChargePoint to support the president’s climate agenda on several occasions. Now, the company is facing considerable economic and legal headwinds.

In February, the White House highlighted ChargePoint’s deals with other companies as proof that the administration’s “actions on EVs have spurred network operators to accelerate the buildout of coast-to-coast EV charging networks.” However, in the nearly ten months since, the company’s stock price has lost significant value, ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano has stepped down from his post and the company now faces a class action lawsuit.

The White House promoted ChargePoint’s partnership with Mercedes-Benz and MN8 Energy “to deploy over 400 charging hubs with more than 2,500 publicly accessible (direct current) fast charging ports across the U.S. and Canada,” as well as the company’s partnership with Volvo and Starbucks “to deploy 60 (direct current) fast chargers at up to 15 locations along the 1,350-mile pilot route between Seattle and Denver to be completed by summer 2023.” Additionally, the White House touted ChargePoint’s agreement with SMTC Corporation to expand charger manufacturing capacity in California. 

The White House also commended ChargePoint for “[investing] in equitable workforce development and [training] a diverse pipeline of  skilled workers to build our nation’s infrastructure” in a November 2022 press release focusing on examples of “major progress” made by President Joe Biden’s climate agenda. The administration also mentioned the company in several other press releases recapping positive developments in the EV charging industry, including the one from February.

ChargePoint operates the largest public network of EV charging stations in the U.S. as of August, according to Edmunds.

In August 2022, several months before the White House issued the February press release, Biden appointed Romano to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, a group of private sector and state or local government officials tasked with advising Biden on how to best reduce risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure. Despite the appointment, Romano stepped down as CEO on Nov. 16, as did CFO Rex Jackson, according to Bloomberg News. Between the day before the announcement that Romano was leaving and the day after, the company’s stock lost nearly 40% of its value, according to data from Google Finance.

The company’s stock price peaked at $46.10 per share on Dec. 24, 2020, and it stood at $13.38 per share on Feb. 15, 2023, the most recent that the White House mentioned the company in writing. As of Tuesday, it is trading at around $2.24 per share, according to data from Google Finance. The share price is down by nearly 75% year-to-date.

The company’s third quarter financial filings also show the company’s revenue was 12% lower than it was in last year’s third quarter. ChargePoint posted a net loss of $158.2 million for the quarter, up from the $84.5 million the company lost during last year’s third quarter.

There is also a class action lawsuit against the firm, which alleges that the company and some of its top executives violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Specifically, the suit, which covers the time between June 1 and Nov. 16, alleges that the company’s share price became artificially inflated because of false and misleading statements made by company executives. The lawsuit alleges that the company was experiencing elevated component costs and supply overruns, factors that were likely to decrease the company’s profitability by forcing costly impairments.

The company’s supply chain issues ultimately forced it to announce a $42 million impairment, or reduction, to the value of its inventory in November, according to its third quarter filings.

“Based on recent investor interactions and multiple negative datapoints across the EV value chain, sentiment in the EV charging space has been muted and we are not surprised that ChargePoint F3Q (third-quarter) revenues would track below expectations,” JPMorgan analysts, led by Bill Peterson, wrote in a November investor note, according to Reuters. “However, the magnitude of the miss and the deceleration late in the quarter doesn’t bode well for near-term fundamentals for ChargePoint or the broader EV value chain in general, and EV charging specifically.”

ChargePoint’s story shares some characteristics with that of Li-Cycle, a battery recycling company with which the administration reached a conditional commitment for a $375 million loan package in February. Li-Cycle had cleared the Department of Energy’s (DOE) due diligence process while it was accused of defrauding its investors, and the company’s stock price has since tanked.

Charging infrastructure remains a key obstacle to the Biden administration’s wider EV agenda, which aims to have 50% of all new car sales be EVs by 2030. Most charging stations are densely concentrated in more densely-populated, coastal regions of the U.S., according to the DOE.

The Biden administration has set billions of dollars aside to help the EV industry build out a nationwide charging network. The administration has committed billions to subsidize EV manufacturing infrastructure, and also to provide consumer tax credits to increase the appeal of the pricier vehicles.

However, auto manufacturers are mostly losing considerable amounts of money on their EV product lines, consumer demand is not reaching projected levels and auto executives are backing off some of their short-term production targets.

The White House, ChargePoint and the DOE all did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Biden’s EV Push Undermined By Scarce And Faulty Charging Stations

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

$7.5 Billion Dollars Of Tax Payer Money for Electric Vehicle Chargers Nobody Wants

The do nothing Congressional UniParty comprised of Republican socialists and Communist Democrats joyfully use your hard earned tax money in the most unconstitutional and imaginative ways.

Take for example the $7.5 billion dollars the UniParty congress allocated to the installed Marxist President Joe Biden to build 500,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers (EVs) across our constitutional republic.

This borrowed money from Communist China and or printed in the Treasury Department was included in the worthless 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. No jobs were created and no infrastructure has been built.

The only President and Congress in our history that actually funded any worthwhile infrastructure was under President Eisenhower with the freeways and interstates he signed off on. This significantly helped national security and grew our free market capitalist economy. These freeways and interstates have already paid for themselves.

But let’s review the EV debacle. First of all nobody is buying electric cars in large enough numbers to support 500,000 tax payer funded EV chargers in the USA.

The exception for EVs is probably in European socialist countries currently being overran with Muslims whose Muslim leadership won’t even let women drive a gasoline powered vehicle let alone an EV.

Out of this $7.5 billion dollars borrowed from Communist China and or printed by the U.S. Treasury Department (contributing to our economic destruction via massive inflation) only $2 billion has been redistributed and accepted by two out of the fifty states. (Ohio and Pennsylvania)

The other forty eight states have not submitted requests or proposals for this unconstitutional redistribution of our tax dollars due to lack of demand.

I’m surprised communist controlled California led by Marxist Governor Newsom and Communist controlled New York State did not jump on this free cash.

Not a single operational EV charger has been built with this borrowed money from Communist China.

So the question is what happened to all those billions of dollars ? It’s your money ladies and gentlemen.

These kind of expenditures from the Treasury Department is driving inflation way beyond our republics ability to handle.

Biden’s Communist answer was the inflation reduction act and massive tax increases. This included a budget proposal that would drive our republics deficit from $34 trillion up to $52 trillion dollars.

Also, early in 2022 Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unconstitutionally and illegally mandated (in violation of the US commerce clause of the U.S. constitution) that half of all vehicles sold in the USA by 2030 must be electric.

The EPA has no such authority to make this a mandatory requirement in a free market capitalist economy. Zero authority. None.

The American people make this decision by their freedom of choice not a communist ran EPA bureaucracy funded by us tax payers.

Welcome to Joe Biden’s Marxist tyrannical utopia using your hard earned tax payer money on the congressional roulette wheel of inflation and economic destruction.

Be prepared for more future losses to our republic by these Communists.

Don’t forget the Communist Obama – Solyndra solar panel failure with a $500 million tax payer loss in 2005 which is still being paid back to communist Chinese plus interest.

This unconstitutional economic insanity falls squarely on the shoulders of the socialist Republican and Communist Democrat controlled UniParty congress who approved it.

These Republican in Name Only (RINO) socialists are holding our tax payers arms behind our backs while the Communist democrats steal our wallets.

If you are still a member of the Republican Party I send you my deepest condolences.

©2023. Geoff Ross. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: DOT Invests $100 Mil to Help Disadvantaged Communities by Fixing Broken EV Chargers

STEPHEN MOORE: The Left’s Green Dreams Are Going Up In Smoke

One of the textbook marketing flops of all time was the Ford Edsel sedan, which was heralded as the hot new car in the late 1950s.

All the automotive experts and Ford executives said it was a can’t miss. Henry Ford (the car was named after his son) guaranteed hundreds of thousands of sales. But one big thing went wrong. Nobody ever bothered to ask car buyers what THEY thought of the new car.

Turns out: they hated it. So instead of sales of 400,000 Americans bought 10,000 and the model was embarrassingly discontinued.

The obvious lesson for the industry: you can’t bribe Americans to buy cars they don’t want. Given the all-in approach mentality for EVs at Ford and GM, it’s clear that Detroit never got this message.

Last week, Honda and General Motors announced an end to their two-year collaboration in building a platform for lower-cost EVs. Honda execs said it was “too hard.”

Amazingly, less than 10% of all new car sales are EVs over the last two years. This despite the fact that the U.S. government is writing a $7,500 check to people for buying an EV and some states are kicking in $5,000 more.

The Texas Policy Foundation calculates that all-in EV subsidies can reach $40,000 per vehicle. It would practically be cheaper for the government to purchase a new gas vehicle for every American car-buyer.

Meanwhile, the news is even worse for wind and solar power. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “clean energy” investment funds are tanking with some down as much as 70% in recent months. Solar has been one of the worst performing industry stocks this year.

This collapse is happening right when Exxon and Chevron have engineered a combined $110 mega — acquisitions to expand oil and gas drilling in the Permian Basin in Texas — one of the biggest oil fields in the world. They both just reported their largest profits ever.

They and their investors are looking at the real world data not green energy propaganda. In 2023 the world has used more fossil fuels than any time in human history even as the developed countries spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to stop oil, gas and coal.

All of this is to say that there in NO “global energy transition” going on. If there is one, it’s away from green energy, not toward it.

COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

AUTHOR

STEPHEN MOORE

Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and chief economist at Freedom Works.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Would you buy a used Tesla from Elon Musk?

More to the point, would you buy its used battery?


My father was a loan officer who specialized in auto loans. In that position, he had to be a good judge of character. I seem to remember one day he was talking about a fellow he knew and said something like the following: “He’s stayed out of jail, but I wouldn’t buy a used car from him.”

More and more used-car buyers are going to face something like the headline’s question as used electric vehicles (EVs), predominantly but not exclusively Teslas, hit the used-car market. A recent article by Jamie L. LaReau of the Detroit Free Press, and republished by papers in the USA Today network, describes the challenges consumers face in buying a used EV.

As you probably know, the single most expensive component in an EV is the battery. A complete replacement of the entire battery can cost about half the price of the car (e.g. US$15,000 for a $30,000 used car). The difficulty in buying a used EV is to figure out the condition of the battery—what its current range is and how long it will be before it has to be replaced. Currently, there is no good way to do this.

LaReau recommends taking the prospective purchase for a long test drive, preferably a couple of days, and running it on the kind of commuting route you expect to use it for. If the battery runs precariously low in such a situation, the car may not be for you. Some types of EVs allow the owner to replace individual faulty cells in the battery, thus avoiding an expensive replacement of the entire battery. I would imagine that the diagnostics for such a replacement might not be straightforward, and only dealers for that particular model could do such a check. Other types of EVs make their batteries as a unitary packaged structure that has to be replaced all at once. So when the battery’s performance falls below what is required, there’s really no other option but to replace the whole thing.

Dave Sargent, whose title is Vice President of Connected Vehicles at the consumer-analytics organization J. D. Power, is quoted as saying that mileage as reported by the odometer is not a good guide to battery condition. More important is the way the car was driven—highway versus city streets—what the average temperature of its surroundings were (Phoenix or Bangor is bad, Atlanta is good) and how it was charged. Fast charging, for example, is harder on batteries than the slower overnight charging that most consumers are able to do in their garages. Also, if the battery was frequently allowed to discharge lower than 20% capacity, that tends to age it faster than otherwise.

In principle, all this data could be (and maybe is) stored somewhere, either on the car’s computer or the manufacturer’s remotely gathered database on the vehicle. If somebody hasn’t done this already, it shouldn’t be hard to write software that can take such data and make an educated guess as to the overall condition of the battery at the time of sale. At this time, however, such software doesn’t seem to be generally available.

Some dealers will test the battery for a fee of about $150, but that only tells you what condition it is in now, not what it’s going to do in the future. A Federal government mandate to guarantee the battery in a new EV for eight years or 100,000 miles is worth something, but it is not clear if that warranty is always transferable to a used-car buyer. On the lender CapitalOne’s website, an article warns that some manufacturers won’t replace a battery under the federal warranty until it is totally non-functional. So even if the car would just get out of your driveway and then die, you’d be stuck with it until it wouldn’t even do that. And sometimes the warranty won’t transfer to subsequent owners.

All in all, anyone buying a used EV is taking a chance that the battery will not do what they want in a time sooner than they’d like. Of course, used cars in general are a somewhat risky purchase, but as a purchaser of used cars most of my life (I’m driving the first new car I ever bought, and that was only three years ago), there are ways to tell if you’re getting a lemon or not, and state-mandated “lemon laws” allow consumers to return vehicles that were sold under clearly fraudulent conditions.

But the lack of expertise on the ground who can make a reliable prediction as to when an EV’s battery will degrade below an acceptable level of performance is a novelty that most buyers would rather not deal with.

On the other hand, the reasons why people buy electric cars are not your usual reasons. Currently, none of the EVs available, used or new, sell for prices that would attract what you might call the typical buyer. LaReau cites statistics that say the current average price of a new EV is about $58,000 and for a used EV, you’ll pay an average of $41,000. So we are talking high-end if not luxury vehicles, and buyers for whom price is not the main consideration.

I think one of the main motivations for people who buy EVs is a politico-aesthetic one: they think they are helping to avert global warming. Whether buying and using an EV really does this, considering all the manufacturing steps, the mining of lithium and other metals under less-than-ideal circumstances, and the source of electric power used to charge the thing, is a question for another time. Whether or not one really does affect global warming with an EV purchase, lots of people feel like they do, and that’s what counts in marketing.

As with any used-car purchase, the old Latin motto caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) applies in spades to buying a used EV. If the car’s battery performance turns out to be a disappointment, maybe the purchaser can just look upon it as one more sacrifice made in the cause of fighting global warming. But your typical car buyer is likely to be unmoved by such sentiments, and so things will have to become a lot more transparent before used EVs become just as easy to sell as conventional gas guzzlers.

This article has been republished from the author’s blog, Engineering Ethics, with permission.

AUTHOR

Karl D. Stephan

Karl D. Stephan received the B. S. in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1976. Following a year of graduate study at Cornell, he received the Master of Engineering degree in 1977… More by Karl D. Stephan.

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Why Are There No EV Charging Stations at Interstate Rest Stops? Blame the Feds!

Joe Biden’s $5 billion funding plan for electric vehicles failed to allow rest stops to offer charging stations, an Atlanta news station discovered.


When Georgia resident Anita Jefferson pulls her Tesla out of her garage each morning, she knows it’s fully charged and ready to go. But she told a local reporter her confidence disappears when she hits the interstate. Charging stations seem few and far between, even at places where you’d expect them to be, like rest stops.

“The one place you would want to travel and stop would be a state rest stop,” Jefferson told an Atlanta news station. “I want to get an answer as to why they’re not there.”

Jefferson got her answer from WXIA-TV Atlanta’s Verify team: There are no charging stations at rest stops because they are prohibited under a federal law—one that stretches all the way back to the Eisenhower administration.

In 1956, Ike signed into law a bill—the Federal-Aid Highway Act—that paved the way (pun intended) for the interstate highway system, which included rest areas at convenient locations.

While there were numerous problems with the legislation, a relatively minor one was that it created strict limits on what could be sold at these rest stops. Today, federal law limits commercial sales to only a few items (including lottery tickets), the Verify team found. When President Joe Biden rolled out a $5 billion funding plan for states to create EV charging stations, he neglected to carve out a commercial exemption for EVs.

“You would be paying for that energy,” Natalie Dale of the Georgia Department of Transportation told WXIA-TV Atlanta. “That would count as commercialized use of the right-of-way and therefore not allowed under current federal regulations.”

If you think this sounds like an inauspicious roll out to the massive federal EV program, you’re not wrong.

Allowing drivers to charge their EVs at convenient, familiar locations that already exist along interstate highways is a no-brainer—yet this simple idea eluded lawmakers in Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, it illustrates a much larger problem with the top-down blueprint central planners are using to create their EV charging station network.

“We have approved plans for all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to help ensure that Americans in every part of the country…can be positioned to unlock the savings and benefits of electric vehicles,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a 2022 statement.

While it’s good the DOT isn’t trying to single-handedly map out the locations of thousands of EV charging stations across the country, there’s little reason to believe that state bureaucrats will be much more efficient. A review of state plans reveals a labyrinth of rules, regulations, and stakeholders dictating everything from the maximum distance of EV stations from highways and interstates to the types of charging equipment stations can use to the types of power capabilities charging stations must have.

The primary reason drivers enjoy the great convenience of gasoline stations across the country—there are some 145,000 of them today—is that they rely on market forces, not central planning. Each year hundreds of new filling stations are created, not because a bureaucrat identified the right location but because an entrepreneur saw an opportunity for profit.

Bureaucracy will never be able to match the efficiency of markets, which use millions of signals to reach decisions, and are constantly being corrected by market changes, all in the pursuit of serving customers and making a profit.

This, the economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out, is precisely the opposite of what bureaucrats do.

“A bureaucrat differs from a nonbureaucrat precisely because he is working in a field in which it is impossible to appraise the result of a man’s effort in terms of money,” Mises wrote in his seminal work Bureaucracy.

Just how burdensome these regulations will prove remains to be seen.

While some states will develop EV charging plans more amenable to market forces than others, all of them are likely to suffer to some extent because the push toward EVs itself has been top-down, driven by politicians trying to push consumers off of gas-powered vehicles.

What’s clear is that the bureaucratic structure of DOT’s charging station blueprint does not bode well for consumers. Charging technology and transportation are constantly evolving, and politicians and bureaucrats simply can’t respond to these changes as efficiently as markets.

So while there is much talk today that EV charging stations will soon outnumber gas stations, there’s reason to be skeptical of this claim—even with the government’s $5 billion spending spree.

There’s little reason to believe that state planners will create a framework with the proper incentive structure to meet the market’s needs. Bureaucrats and politicians lack both the knowledge and proper incentives to create a functional EV market.

If you doubt this, just ask Anita Jefferson, who can’t even charge her Tesla at rest stops—because of a federal law passed in 1956.

AUTHOR

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. (Follow him on Substack.) His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

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