By Linda McMahon via the Daily Caller Foundation | June 14, 2023
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced aggressive C02 mandates, with the expressed goal of 67% of all cars having 0% tailpipe emissions in the next seven years. Though all Americans support clean air and clean water, this EPA declaration is a short-sighted sound bite aimed at appealing to some of the Biden Administration’s more progressive critics. Unfortunately, it also presents national security concerns, creates higher costs for U.S. consumers, and threatens jobs for American workers. It does so all for the hidden goal of combating global warming, which analysis show will not occur because these regulations will result in little if any, emissions reduction.
Our Nation’s most significant national security concern is China, and these new regulations will make our economy and society more dependent on China for the materials used in electric vehicles (EVs). The primary components of EV batteries, which include graphite, rare earth minerals, lithium, manganese, and cobalt, are all dominated by Chinese miners and processors. Even if our government removed many burdensome mining regulations, our country still does not possess the domestic natural recourses or an advanced processing industry for minerals. This means that the Biden Administration’s new regulations will both offshore manufacturing jobs to China and give the Chinese a political tool to extract concessions from our government. Imagine the difficult predicament for an administration that is forced to choose between defending international waterways in the South Pacific or securing the critical minerals for driving. As geopolitical competition between our nations intensifies, we must limit our liabilities, not create new ones.
As if the national security implications are not frightening enough, the American consumer is also at risk. The cost of EVs is, on average, $12,000 more than a gas-powered car. Rather than utilize the free market to drive down this cost disparity, the administration has chosen to regulate gas-powered vehicles out of existence by effectively forcing new cars to be EVs. This will surely increase costs when automakers are no longer incentivized to drive costs down to the level of gas-powered vehicles because far fewer gas-powered cars will be sold on car dealership lots. Instead, such policies have the potential of putting new vehicles out of reach for the middle class while subsidizing the vanity purchases of the wealthy.
This decision also has a significant impact on the American worker, who will be laid off and forced to re-skill or take a lower-paying job. A March 2023 CBS headline tells you all you need to know: “GM Offers Buyouts to Most of Its U.S. Workers Amid Shift to Electric Vehicles.” The rationale for these decisions was because of increased costs related to EV battery factories, the sourcing of scarce metals, and additional research and development. Not much of an effective jobs plan for these union workers.
At least, you might say, the Biden Administration could convincingly argue these regulations will have a meaningful impact on global warming and the quality of the air we breathe. Well, unfortunately, you would be wrong.
Although the administration argues their “proposed standards [will] protect public health by cutting nearly 10 billion tons of C02 emissions,” these cuts are exaggerated and will have almost no effect on global temperatures. One must remember that the Biden administration’s plan only affects Americans even though other nations, notably China, now account for the vast majority of new emissions generation. Speaking to air quality, a study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that EVs averaging 300 miles of range will emit 3%–8% more particulate matter pollution (some of the worst pollution that is directly linked to lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases) than conventional gas-powered vehicles.
Milton Friedman once said, “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.” I can’t think of a better way to encapsulate the national security risks, increased costs, and job decline that will come from this ill-conceived regulation. This EV policy reinforces the difference between government officials who are so hamstrung by an EV future and those who understand the real consequences this policy will impose on Americans.
Linda McMahon is the Chair of the America First Policy Institute and the former Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
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