By Levi Russell
Electric vehicle industry promoters are absolutely crowing about recent data showing record sales for non-hybrid electric vehicles. In the first half of 2022, these electric vehicles made up 5.46% of all new car sales, while sales of hybrids declined. For comparison, electric vehicles made up just 2.7% of all car sales in the second quarter of 2021.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, overall car sales have fallen drastically. Over 17 million new cars were sold each year from 2015 to 2019. The year 2020 saw sales fall to 14.7 million and a mere 12.28 million were sold in 2021. Currently, we are on track to roughly match the 2021 sales number.
The motivation for this increase in purchases of EVs is nothing less than the largest, most coordinated effort on the part of the federal government to shift consumer behavior via market manipulation in the history of the automotive industry. The Biden administration has, via policy, intentionally driven up the price of diesel and gasoline in an attempt to obliterate demand for these products.
If this is difficult to believe, simply listen to the Transportation Secretary tell you that “The more pain that we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles.” As I wrote on this site earlier this year, the federal government cannot reduce the actual cost of electric vehicles, it can only make their competition more expensive. That means more pain for the average American and the Biden administration knows it. Secretary Buttigieg has characterized Americans as bitter clingers to our supposedly evil gasoline powered vehicles.
There are roadblocks to the supposed green utopia of the electric vehicle in the form of real costs. For instance, input prices are skyrocketing for EVs, leading manufacturers to continuously increase the prices of these already-expensive toys. Ford recently announced $7,000 and $8,500 increases in the prices of their least expensive F-150 Lightning model pickup trucks, citing these higher input costs. In June, Ford announced that their Mach E model Mustang is “no longer profitable” and Nissan plans to stop production of their tiny Leaf EV in the next few years. Nissan will likely replace the low-priced Leaf with something much larger and more luxurious.
To offset the higher input costs and attenuate the potential reduced sales due to persistent price increases, Ford is laying off 8,000 employees to finance production of EVs. Perhaps this could be spun as a part of the transition from internal combustion to EV production, but the same tactic is being employed at major EV-only manufacturers. Rivian, maker of an EV pickup that famously had to stop every 100 miles to charge for hours at a time while towing a race car, recently announced a “major” cost-cutting effort which will include layoffs. In May, Tesla announced its largest layoff in the company’s history.
It’s no wonder that working class Americans are increasingly fed up with the Biden administration and the rest of his party. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) recently schooled Biden’s transportation secretary on the real-world cost of charging an EV. If EVs made up half the US car fleet by 2030, an absurd goal on its face, Rep. Massie notes that the average household would use double the amount of energy it uses for air conditioning in a year to charge one EV for a year. It doesn’t take a PhD in economics to understand what that kind of increased load would do to our grid and to the cost of energy, especially if it came from unreliables like solar and wind.
For working class Americans, the notion of owning an EV is a joke. One family discovered a serious practical problem of owning a used, low priced, EV: lack of manufacturer support. The family’s 2014 Ford Focus EV needed a new battery. They discovered that the replacement battery the car needed would cost $14,000; more than the price they paid for the car. To add insult to injury, they then found that Ford couldn’t even provide them with a replacement. Lack of manufacturer support for basic components for an 8 year old vehicle is unheard of for internal-combustion-powered cars.
Though the Biden administration continues to mislead the public, other policy makers and influential NGOs are beginning to shift the narrative. The World Economic Forum recently admitted to the many and varied environmental and human rights issues associated with EV production from the use of child slaves to mine cobalt in the Congo to the increased road and tire wear from heavy electric cars. Their solution to the problem is simply this: don’t own a vehicle. As I’ve said before on this site, the ultimate goal of the so-called “transition” to EVs is to eliminate our freedom of movement. If every move we make involves a transaction, it can all be traced. Our freedom and privacy would be curtailed even more than it already has been by the Biden administration. The question for Americans is “how much ideological tyranny will we put up with before we use the ballot box to end it?”
Levi Russell is an assistant teaching professor at the University of Kansas’s Brandmeyer Center for Applied Economics.
Originally published by RealClearEnergy. Republished with permission.
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