Amy Oliver Cooke, Energy, Environment, National, Uncategorized

Cooke: Oppressive EPA emissions standard will cost Coloradans plenty

There’s so much gaslighting in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently announced vehicle emissions standards, it may be guilty of expanding the Biden Administration’s carbon footprint simply with the news release.

The EPA’s announcement claims its “strongest-ever” emissions standards will:

  • Expand consumer choice in clean vehicles
  • Protect public health
  • Address the climate crisis
  • Save drivers money

The reality is that the new standards won’t do much, if anything, for the environment. They will cost consumers more money, reduce vehicle choices, and harm public health. Most egregious is the dictatorial nature of Washington, D.C. deciding for Americans across our vast nation how they can exercise their mobility freedom.

The EPA’s new rules essentially compel automakers to manufacture and sell only electric vehicles (EV), which is unlikely to sit well with drivers. Even with lucrative taxpayer-subsidized incentives, unsold EVs in dealer lots across America remind us that drivers don’t want them for a host of reasons, including expense, charging issues, and lack of range.

Addressing tailpipe-only emissions, the rules ignore EVs’ total emissions, including those from mining and processing rare earth elements needed in manufacturing, transportation, and charging, which are substantial.

Then there’s the cost beyond the high sticker price. According to a Texas Public Policy Foundation study, “Nearly $22 billion in federal and state subsidies and regulatory credits” benefit wealthy EV owners, while low-income families, taxpayers, and ratepayers must shoulder the costs of almost $50,000 per vehicle.

For Colorado families, who are already grappling with record inflation and dwindling options for affordable vehicles, the new rules will disproportionately burden poorer households. Forcing low-income families to buy expensive EVs and bear the tax burden of state and federal subsidies and regulatory credits will mean they have to make difficult choices between transportation and essentials like food, medicine, and utilities.

Surveys from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers suggest that a significant majority of Americans, once informed about the proposed gas car bans and the push towards electric vehicles, express overwhelming opposition. Across political lines, from Democrats to Unaffiliated to Republicans, the sentiment against government regulations banning new gasoline, diesel, and hybrid vehicles is clear: Keep our gas-powered vehicles.

This opposition is even more pronounced in crucial battleground states, like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio, which could affect the 2024 elections. In Michigan, home of the United Auto Workers Union, the opposition is a whopping 87 percent.

Finally, there’s the grid issue. The new standards will destabilize our electric grid by significantly increasing power demand. At the same time, Colorado and other states are decreasing baseload power, replacing it with unreliable weather-dependent power. There will be blackouts and times when people won’t be allowed to charge their vehicles to avoid grid collapse.

Beyond the economics, the fundamental issue at stake is the principle of consumer choice and the role of government in dictating how Americans move themselves from home to work to school and back again. While environmental stewardship and cleaner air are worthy goals, achieving them without debate through regulatory fiat is too high of a price in a free society.

The road forward should be navigated with a balanced approach that considers the multifaceted implications of such a drastic shift in the automotive industry. The public deserves a say in shaping the future of transportation, one that aligns with their needs, aspirations, and environmental responsibilities.

Amy Cooke directs the Independence Institute’s energy and environmental policy center.


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