GOP House Takes on California EV Mandate
The Golden State’s push for 100% electric vehicle sales by 2035 is meeting resistance not only from consumers but also autoworkers and federal legislators.
Energy Secretary Jenny Granholm recently experienced some humorous trouble on her road trip promoting the sale of electric vehicles. It may have been good for a laugh, but in a dozen years the joke will be on us because of an EPA waiver California received decades ago and how far the state’s Democrats have run with it.
Including the not-so-Golden State itself, states that have adopted California’s rules mandating 100% EV sales by 2035 comprise about 40% of the American automobile market, which itself has moved on from the econobox cars of the 1980s that Detroit put out in part to comply with the fleet-wide mileage standards then in place. Today, however, the road is filled with trucks and SUVs because automakers have employed some flexibility within the regulations. While automakers now have EVs available in those pickup and SUV body styles, the sales of such vehicles are dwarfed by those of vehicles with standard gasoline-powered engines. EVs have been stacking up on dealer lots because few people want or can afford them, despite government incentives.
This situation led Florida Governor (and 2024 presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis to succinctly sum up the issue: “They announced that in a few years ‘all new sales in California must be electric.’ Then two days later they say, ‘all electric vehicles owners: don’t plug in your car because we have problems with the power grid.’ Are you kidding me?!”
And that’s the least of the problems — just ask a truck driver about California’s “totally impractical” idea of mandating electric tractor-trailers. “They might as well be saying, ‘Hey, build a spaceship and go to Mars,’” said one.
Ryan Mills at National Review puts it this way: “The [California] regulations are targeted at larger fleets — those with 50 or more trucks or that have $50 million or more in gross annual revenues — as well as at any firms or independent truckers who do drayage work in the state’s major seaports and rail yards. Starting January 1, those businesses will only be allowed to add zero-emission trucks to their fleets. Diesel trucks registered with the state by December 31 can be grandfathered in for a while.” How long is “a while”? Probably long enough for the smaller operators to wind up their affairs and move to DeSantis’s Florida, as one operator vows to do.
With a great portion of the public now on the hook to buy EVs in the years ahead — just 12 short years away — the Republican-controlled House has swung into action by passing what’s known as the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act. The brilliantly named bill “would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing a new waiver to enable California’s standards to take effect,” The Daily Signal notes. “It also bars the EPA from certifying California as compliant with an existing waiver.” Though it was passed by Republicans, eight Democrats in vulnerable districts also went along, meaning it was a bipartisan bill.
That bill isn’t likely to survive in the Democrat-controlled Senate, though, and has already garnered a statement of disapproval from the “Robert L. Peters” administration should it somehow pass. But the effort to restore sanity to our automotive market is a two-pronged one, as three separate lawsuits are also progressing in federal court.
There’s a lot at stake. “As we know,” says The Heritage Foundation’s Steve Bradbury, “historically, gas-powered cars have been the freedom machine for Americans. There’s some feeling of freedom and independence in having a tank full of gas in your car in the garage. Well, that would all go away in a world where we’re talking about 100% electric. And, of course, a lot of people are not going to be able to afford those electric vehicles and are not going to want to buy them, so they’re going to be stuck driving older and older used vehicles. And that is not safe.”
All this is going on against the backdrop of the UAW strike in progress. Rather than the old method of selecting one automaker as a work stoppage target to set up a basic deal framework for the other two, in this case the UAW is targeting selected plants for each of the Big Three automakers (Ford, GM, and Stellantis, formerly Chrysler.)
EVs play a big role in that strike. Because EVs have fewer moving parts, they take fewer workers to build, and that flies in the face of Big Labor’s idea about job security — not to mention the 32-hour work week, restoration of defined-benefit pension plans, and the 46% pay raise the UAW is demanding at a time when most workers can’t even keep up with inflation.
Maybe the UAW should use its ill-gotten gains for maintaining our freedom of movement. We doubt their rank-and-file are as excited about EVs as our betters in the government seem to be, given that those EVs will bring about the demise of many of the automaking jobs they now hold. Hey, it’s tough to strike if you’re in the union of the unemployed.
- green energy
- regulatory commissars
- electric vehicles
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