Op-ed: Biden’s electric vehicle strategy is not the silver bullet to reduce emissions

Fox News published an op-ed by CRES President Heather Reams and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) outlining the Biden Administration’s misguided approach to reducing emissions in the transportation sector. The piece highlights the recently released CRES Forum white paper exploring this topic.

The Biden administration and the far-left’s Green New Deal agenda is coming for your gas-powered vehicle, but it turns out their laser focus on electric vehicles (EVs) may actually harm the very environment they want to protect.

While we recognize the importance of reducing transportation emissions, and vehicle electrification can play its part, we do not share the same optimism expressed by the Biden administration and its proponents on how effective an EV-only strategy can be.

When is less consumer choice ever a good thing?

The government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to reducing global emissions. If the administration continues to put all our eggs in the EV basket, it may actually result in higher emissions globally, and while vehicle electrification is an option, it is far from a silver bullet.

First, EVs are not a realistic option for the majority of American families. According to recent research from CRES Forum, the average EV owner’s household income is over $100,000, which only equates to about 31% of U.S. households, and supply chain shortages have caused the prices of EVs to continue to rise.

Not only are EVs cost-prohibitive, but in areas of extreme cold weather, like Michigan, current battery technologies are inadequate – potentially costing even more – and a lack of electric charging infrastructure puts drivers in rural and underdeveloped areas at risk.

The marketplace already reflects consumer unwillingness to purchase EVs. Electric vehicles sit unbought on car dealership lots, and in the last six months, most auto companies have lowered their EV targets or have had to significantly discount their vehicles because of slowing demand. With this downward trend, forcing two-thirds of all new vehicles to be electric in less than 10 years does not make economic sense.

Second, manufacturing batteries used in EVs is an endeavor monopolized by our primary adversary: the Chinese Communist Party. Not only do they dominate the supply of 21 of the 50 U.S.-designated critical minerals – many of which are essential for EV battery production – but they also control over 90% of the processing and refining supply chain capacity.

This means even American manufacturers are currently reliant on China, which also poses a risk to our national security.

To reach the EV target set out by the International Energy Agency’s net-zero emissions plan, global demand for lithium and cobalt far exceeds global reserves – by over 200% and 400%, respectively.

While the administration has lamented the need to strengthen our domestic critical mineral supplies, their actions demonstrate the opposite. Biden’s officials continue to block domestic mining projects and kowtow to extreme environmentalists who want to have their cake and eat it too.

Last, China’s economy is more than three times more carbon-intensive than the United States, meaning the production of EV battery components potentially outweighs the emission-reducing benefits they eventually provide. To put it plainly, U.S. EV regulations are putting our future in the hands of a hostile regime with very few environmental or labor protections, with little to no reduction in global carbon emissions to show for it.

This is unacceptable.

The American Dream works because of free market principles and competition. Just as we advocate for an all-of-the-above approach to energy production to strengthen American leadership and the U.S. economy, the same approach should be applied to reducing transportation emissions.

During a period of already-crippling inflation, Americans – and the U.S. economy – cannot afford to increase the price of vehicles based solely on “pie in the sky” zero-emissions dreams. And because the administration’s approach rewards EV adoption – not emissions mitigation – vehicle options are going down the drain.

We should encourage consumer choice instead of tying the hands of America’s car manufacturers and forcing families to purchase electric vehicles that may or may not work for their lifestyle. The Choice in Automobile Sales (CARS) Act prohibits the Biden administration from imposing aggressive and unrealistic emissions standards on American consumers and protects families from mandates that limit the availability of vehicles based on engine type.

To lower transportation emissions, we should encourage American leadership and innovation. We should explore emission-reducing alternatives, including but not limited to, increased numbers of hybrid vehicles, higher mile-per-gallon engines, and expanded fuel sources like renewable natural gas. Why would we take these options off the table?

By rewarding all emission reduction efforts rather than just EV purchases, we would be encouraging carbon removal and sequestration throughout the fuel production process. It would also ensure trade policies focus on life cycle emissions so we can actually achieve our goal of reducing global emissions – not just political priorities.

The bottom line: Electrification is not the silver bullet for reducing transportation emissions. Without greatly expanding our electric infrastructure and bolstering our domestic critical mineral supplies, an EV-only approach will do more to harm the environment than it will to help it, at the expense of consumer choice.

We will continue to advocate for American consumers, who deserve low-cost solutions, and for U.S. global leadership, so we can lower transportation emissions, strengthen the U.S. economy, and leave the planet better than we found it.

Read full op-ed HERE.

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