Will American Motorists Spend Their Hard-Earned Money on Electric Vehicles Without Government Coercion?

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Will American Motorists Spend Their Hard-Earned Money on Electric Vehicles Without Government Coercion?
Will American Motorists Spend Their Hard-Earned Money on Electric Vehicles Without Government Coercion?

Dan Becker is the director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign. He hates gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. In February 2024, he spoke to the Washington Post about a proposal to slow the phase-in of federal regulations requiring manufacturers to produce electric vehicles (EVs).

“It will mean more pollution, more sick kids, more global warming, more oil use.”

Self-Serving Prophecies

Environmentalists spend a lot of time promoting the illusion that EVs are the future. In September 2023, the Washington Post reported on a hopeful scenario.

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“There is a theoretical, magic tipping point for adoption of electric vehicles. Once somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of new car sales are all-electric, some researchers say, huge numbers of drivers will follow. They predict that electric car sales will then soar—to 25 percent, 50 percent and eventually to close to 80 percent of new sales. Early adopters who love shiny new technologies will be replaced by mainstream consumers just looking for a good deal.”

At that point, a little reality seeped in. The article mentioned that EV sales had reached seven percent. No rush to the showrooms materialized.

Translating Hopes and Dreams into Policy

Yet the Biden administration’s “goal of having 50 percent of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030” is still official policy. The White House claims, “There are now more than three million EVs on the road and over 135,000 public EV chargers across the country.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) painted an even more optimistic picture in April 2024.

“More than one in five cars sold worldwide this year is expected to be electric, with surging demand projected over the next decade set to remake the global auto industry and significantly reduce oil consumption for road transport, according to the new edition of the IEA’s annual Global EV Outlook.”

Those numbers are hopelessly optimistic.

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As of February 2024, only four percent of Ford Motor Company’s total sales were EVs. Nor is Ford lagging behind the market. EVs make up only three percent of General Motors’ output.

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In addition, Ford is not putting EV money in the bank. Bloomberg reported that “Ford Cuts Battery Orders as EV Losses Top $100,000 Per Car.” (Emphasis added.) Disastrous as it might be, Bloomberg’s figure may have been optimistic. Car and Driver, an automobile enthusiast publication, reported Ford’s loss at $130,000 per unit.

American consumers are slow to accept EVs even though the federal government provides the first $7,500 of the purchase price. Until recently, the purchaser got the money the following year as an income tax credit. However, an NPR story in early May indicates that buyers can now receive the credit at the time of purchase. In other words, Uncle Sam will pay the down payment on certain new EVs.

Even with the incentive, an EV is still a bad deal. According to Cox Automotive, publishers of the long-established Kelly Blue Book new and used car value guide, the average price of a new EV was $55,242 in April 2024, compared to $44,989 for a gas-powered vehicle.

The Woes of Refueling EVs

Electric cars are also far less convenient than gas cars when it is time to refuel. Assuming good mechanical condition, gas cars can go an almost unlimited number of miles. When the car runs out of fuel, the driver pulls into one of the 111,000 gas stations in the United States.1 Ten minutes later, the tank is full, and the driver is back on the road.

At the same time, the US Department of Energy says that there were 64,187 EV charging stations. This number is about half of the Biden Administration’s estimate. Even so, that figure is still misleading because it counts every device. If a convenience store has four gas pumps and four plugs for EVs, it only counts as one of the gas stations but four of the charging outlets. Therefore, the EV driver has far fewer options than the owner of a conventional automobile.

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Moreover, slightly more than a quarter of those charging stations are in one state—California. The number two state is New York, with 6.1 percent. At the same time, twenty-six states2 have less than one percent of the outlets. So, Californians or New Yorkers might be able to function normally if their only car or truck is an EV. However, if you want to drive FROM California TO New York, taking that trip in an EV will be inconvenient at best.

Too Many Unknown Factors

There are also a lot of unknowns and inconsistencies in an EV. The first is the time that it takes to recharge the battery. According to a recent US News and World Report article, the recharging task can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to forty hours. Larger batteries take longer than smaller batteries. Using a home’s 120-volt connection to recharge is easy, but it takes all night. Using a 240-volt outlet—the same ones used for electric stoves or dryers—makes it much faster, but the process still takes at least four hours. The commercial outlets are much quicker—anywhere from twenty to sixty minutes. However, that is still far slower than using a gas pump.

The inconsistencies, however, do not stop there. Adverse weather notably affects EV batteries. Cooler temperatures both decrease the range and increase the time it takes to recharge. A few years ago, Car and Driver Magazine tested a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt in 56-degree (Fahrenheit) weather. The following year, they tested a similarly equipped 2018 Bolt when the thermometer stood at 36 degrees. They measured a nineteen percent decrease in fuel economy in the cooler weather. In New England and the upper Midwest, winter temperatures below ten degrees are not unusual. Under such conditions, the economy drops even more.

Also, battery life reduces gradually with time and use. According to Consumer Affairs, an EV battery has a “life span between eight and 15 years.” Replacement costs “ranged from $4,489 all the way to a staggering $17,658.” Buying a used EV is a questionable economic proposition.

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A third imponderable factor concerns the overall electricity supply. The electric “grid” cannot simply meet domestic and industrial usage. California experienced “rolling blackouts” during the summer of 2020 when the demand for air conditioning exceeded the available electricity. Then, 135,000 Californians lost power due to bad weather in January 2023. Strict conservation measures narrowly averted a recurrence of 2020’s blackouts in September 2023. One of those measures was to discourage people from recharging their EVs.

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As experience with EVs increases, some of these “bugs” will doubtless be ironed out. However, there are many reasons to question how long that will take. Can it happen before Mr. Biden’s mandates go into effect?

Indeed, many Americans have chosen EVs. Under the right circumstances, they can be less expensive to operate. Their performance is excellent, and they are very quiet. Some two-car families own one of each, enjoying the lower per-mile costs of the EV and the flexibility of gas-powered cars.

However, these should be free choices, not mandates handed down by ill-informed and short-sighted government bureaucracies.

Photo Credit: © Artūrs Laucis photo – stock.adobe.com


  1. US Labor Department statistics. See How Many Gas Stations Are There in US? Why It’s Important to Know – 24/7 Wall St (247wallst.com).
  2. Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

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