A critical thinking failure on EVs

A critical thinking failure on EVs

Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh fancy themselves as being at the forefront of the electric vehicle (EV) and autonomous vehicle “revolution.”

Lots of taxpayer dollars have been poured into CMU and Pitt to research and develop such vehicles. The city is heavily promoting stations for EVs to charge its coming electric fleet and for public use as well.

But a damning column (and counterintuitively so, at least for the author) in The Wall Street Journal clearly and succinctly calls into question the fundamental efficacy of electric vehicles. And critical thinking skills, too.

The column headline: “When will EVs go mainstream? It depends on Uncle Sam.”

But if you think the column is an argument detailing the folly of electric vehicles because they can’t stand on their own four wheels without government (i.e., taxpayer) subsidies – and they can’t — think again.

It’s a long exhortation to subsidize EVs even more. The sub-headline makes that quite clear:

“Electric vehicles accounted for just 4.4 percent of U.S. passenger-vehicle sales last year. If China and Europe are a guide, accelerating consumer adoption will require subsidies.”

As legendary columnist George Will would likely react regarding such an entreaty: “Well.”

Some other rancid nuggets from the column:

“Without more help from Washington, electric-vehicle sales will struggle to live up to the stock-market hype.”

So, government should create and fuel an EV bubble that’s sure to burst?

Or how about this:

“If the new technology is to live up to high investor expectations, the global record suggests that the U.S. will need to embrace subsidies.”

Why? Taxpayers have absolutely no business being turned into venture capitalists to make such technology “live up to high investor expectations.”

Talk about perverted and warped.

There’s even what appears to be at the same time an endorsement of further taxing the bejeebers out of traditional internal combustion-powered vehicles:

“Particularly since the pandemic, bigger European economies have introduced meaningful EV subsidies, sometimes matched by extra taxes on conventional cars. Consumers are responding.”

Good grief. So, if you can’t win on a fair and competitive highway, you tax and/or regulate the established competition out of business, eh? Or, perhaps, the government bribes manufacturers with subsidies to force its will.

Let’s embrace that European command marketeering, is that it? No thanks.

And never mind, as The Journal column notes, that in the United States, there’s already a federal subsidy of up to $7,500 for each of the first 200,000 EVs a manufacturer sells.

So, taxpayers have to juice EV makers’ poor market position further?

Who thinks this stuff up? Worse, who allows this stuff to corrupt the marketplace that is saying one thing while the “social justice” ecocratic crowd keep shoveling this garbage down the public’s throats?

Adds The Journal column:

“It isn’t all about subsidies. Consumers are also choosing EVs because of rising climate concerns, improving product performance and fading range anxiety following investment in charging networks. Manufacturers are promoting them in Europe because of tighter emissions rules in force since 2020.”

Well, given EVs already are heavily subsidized – but market penetration to date remains anemic in the U.S. — consumers’ “rising climate concerns” must be powered by old yeast. And those “fading range anxieties”? They’re already heavily subsidized by government with, you can bet, more to come.

Concludes the piece:

“This column doesn’t major in political analysis, but the chances of more tax credits at this point don’t seem high enough to justify the optimism surrounding the U.S. EV market. Uncle Sam needs to put his foot down, or investors could be in for a long wait.”

It’s obvious that urging Uncle Sam to “put his foot down” is not a reference to pulling back on subsidies but adding more, as in pushing the accelerator to the floor.

And that’s an abhorrent public policy. And that this kind of “intellectual discourse” somehow now passes for critical thinking on important public policy issues of the day is even more execrable.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).