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Thomas Gallatin / August 6, 2021

Biden Demands Consumers Buy 50% EV by 2030

And lawmakers seek to implement a tax on vehicle milage traveled in the infrastructure bill.

Democrats will tell you what to buy, when to buy it, and they’ll tax you while you’re at it.

Deep within the 2,700 pages of the bipartisan “infrastructure” deal a group of 20 senators rolled out on Monday is the creation of a program aimed at eventually taxing Americans for every mile they drive. The concept known as the vehicle milage traveled (VMT) tax is not new, but it has recently gained traction as lawmakers seek new revenue sources for funding their massive $1.1 trillion plan.

Back in March, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged the Biden administration’s interest in exploring implementing some form of a VMT to help fund infrastructure. “When you think about infrastructure, it’s a classic example of the kind of investment that has a return on that investment,” Buttigieg asserted. “A so-called vehicle-miles-traveled tax or milage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it.”

The system of a federal gas tax intended to fund the Highway Trust Fund has fallen short of generating enough revenue, lawmakers claim, hence the desire to find another means of milking hardworking Americans. Never mind the fact that this massive “infrastructure” bill allocates $550 billion in new transportation spending even as the national debt has ballooned to a whopping $28 trillion. No tax will ever be enough for these spendthrifts.

However, beyond a potential national VMT on top of the current gas tax (of course they won’t end that revenue stream), there are concerns regarding Americans’ privacy rights. In order for a VMT to work, an elaborate tracking system would need to be developed — one that would essentially track everywhere Americans go. This has Fourth Amendment violations written all over it.

But why are lawmakers pushing a VMT? Well, Biden’s latest executive order may provide some of the answer. On Thursday, Biden issued an order setting 2030 as the target date for 50% of all new vehicles sold to be electric or carbon free. If, as Biden desires, 50% of new cars sold by 2030 are electric, then that represents a huge cut in gas tax revenue. The solution: tax vehicle milage.

The constitutional problems, meanwhile, are numerous. “If you can’t get the votes … you can’t [legislate] by executive order unless you’re a dictator,” Biden said in October. So much for that. Why wait for Congress when there’s a power grab to be made?

This is yet another case of the federal government abusing the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, seeking to direct and limit Americans’ purchasing freedom. Furthermore, it is a rejection of the concept of free market enterprise and its superior ability at technological innovation. When consumers are free to choose what they buy, they buy what works best for them, which may not be what those in positions of power would want. But that’s how a truly free society and free market economy operates.

What Biden will do is manipulate the market, in part by engaging in crony capitalism to prop up big businesses that have already heavily invested in EV technology. His order will ensure the purchase of their products while also limiting outside competition from startups.

Lost in all the feel-good high-fives over electric cars is the fact that our nation’s electrical grid cannot handle millions of additional electric vehicles without major overhauling and upgrading. Thus, as usual, the government’s “solution” to one problem will create another (big) one.

To be clear, the development of EV technology is not ultimately the problem, though EVs are not as clean as ecofascists would have you believe and there are hurdles to overcome. Rather, the problem is the government manipulating the market and mandating consumer choices. Technological innovation develops most efficiently when driven by free market forces, not government fiats.

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