February 17, 2023

EVs: An Expensive Way to Virtue Signal

They may be growing in popularity, but electric vehicles aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

It’s no surprise that more Americans than ever are ditching their gas-guzzling cars for sleek new electric vehicles. After all, who wouldn’t want to protect the environment and pocket the gas savings for some other noble purpose?

But it’s also about keeping up with the Joneses — those progressive neighbors of yours who shriek whenever you gas up your lawnmower or fail to render sufficiently to the recycling gods.

Driving an EV is a virtue signal of the first order. It says to the world, I care, and I’m doing my part to save the planet. It’s like wearing an AIDS ribbon in the 1980s or displaying a “Black Lives Matter” sign on your front lawn today. By showing your neighbors that you’re doing something, the logic goes, you must be doing something good.

Lots of folks are jumping on the EV bandwagon, and the numbers show that it’s paying off for auto companies. “Auto makers sold 807,180 fully electric vehicles in the U.S. last year, or 5.8% of all vehicles sold, up from 3.2% a year earlier, according to year-end figures released this week by market-research firm Motor Intelligence,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

What’s more, Ford is building a battery factory in Michigan using Chinese technology. And Tesla’s cofounder is using a $2 billion loan from Joe Biden’s Department of Energy to build EV battery materials.

Meanwhile, the green energy crowd has poured millions into marketing EVs and making us think we’re going to have a cheaper, greener future. Higher gas prices — caused in part by President Biden’s decision to shut down America’s oil production on his first day in office — also convinced many Americans to think it was time to go green.

But going green isn’t cheap. Far from it. One of the hidden truths about EVs is that you have to pay more to go farther. Chevy’s Blazer EV “can drive 247 miles on a charge,” The Atlantic reports. “To go farther, you’ll need to pony up $47,595 to get 290 miles of range or $51,995 to reach 320 miles.”

The Atlantic adds: “Because the first wave of new EVs have [sic] been so expensive, America’s affluent tax brackets made up the bulk of early adopters. The same people are also those most likely to be able to afford their own homes and install a charger that can power up their car overnight.”

According to CBS News, New England’s power rates “have jumped an average of 30% since last summer, while gasoline prices have receded well below their peak in June of 2022.” Conveniently and predictably, CBS News blames “muscle cars” and fossil fuels for higher electricity costs.

Of course, paying higher electricity rates is only a problem if there’s actually electricity to pay for.

Cal Matters reports: “State officials claim that the 12.5 million electric vehicles expected on California’s roads in 2035 will not strain the grid. But their confidence that the state can avoid brownouts relies on a best-case — some say unrealistic — scenario: massive and rapid construction of offshore wind and solar farms, and drivers charging their cars in off-peak hours.”

Suddenly, the image of driving a sexy EV down the Pacific Coast Highway isn’t quite so appealing, is it? Imagine waking up for work and hoping there’s enough power to charge your car.

Another reason for EV sticker shock is the costly nature of raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel needed to make the batteries.

But the drawbacks of electric cars aren’t stopping the Biden administration from taking bold steps to force Americans into changing their way of life. Rather than directly banning combustion-engine vehicles, Biden and other leftist pols are pushing for the same result by issuing executive orders to raise fuel-efficiency standards so high that they can’t be met.

Some state governors are following Biden’s path. California’s Gavin Newsom and New York’s Kathy Hochul are among those who have signed measures to ban internal combustion engines by 2035. The European Union just decided to do likewise. In other words, we’re going to buy EVs whether we like it or not.

Right now, it looks like there’s no stopping the EV revolution. But while sales are increasing, that’s mainly due to government subsidies. Most Americans aren’t falling for the hype — and many others can’t even afford the hype.

“This is why electric cars make up only 5% of new car sales and despite years of massive government subsidization still comprise just 1% of all cars on the road,” writes columnist Victoria Marshall. “It’s a hassle to own an electric car.”

It’s not only a hassle — it’s a scam.

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