The EV road to perdition

The EV road to perdition

A not-so-funny thing keeps happening on the way to the supposedly commonsense and environmentally “necessary” push for electric vehicles (EVs) here, there and everywhere:

The truth is rearing its inconvenient head.

There has been all manner of talk and action in the City of Pittsburgh of converting the municipal fleet to non-fossil fuel powertrains. 

Electric transit buses are the wave of the responsible future, Pittsburgh Regional Transit (the mass-transit agency formerly known as the Port Authority of Allegheny County) keeps telling the public.

It’s the environmentally conscious, if not socially “just,” thing to do, the “green” pushers and pimps of EVs keep pounding.

But as we’ve noted many times before, “green” might as well be the new brown and vows of “social justice” is rhetoric sans reality.

As Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus, recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal:

“Electric vehicles will take over the market only if innovation makes them …  better and cheaper than gasoline-powered cars. Politicians are spending hundreds of billions of dollars and keeping consumers from the cars they want for virtually no climate benefit.”

And, as he and others have painfully noted, to the climate’s significant detriment. To wit:

“Electric cars’ impact on air pollution isn’t as straightforward as you might think,” reminds Lomborg, author of “False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.”

“The vehicles themselves pollute only slightly less than a gasoline car because their massive batteries and consequent weight leads to more particulate pollution from greater wear on brakes, tires and roads. On top of that, the additional electricity they require can throw up large amounts of air pollution depending on how it’s generated.”

Continued Lomborg, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution:

“An American Economic Association study found that rather than lowering air pollution, on average each additional electric car in the U.S. causes additional air-pollution damage worth $1,100 over its lifetime.

“The minerals required for those batteries also present an ethical problem, as many are mined in areas with dismal human-rights records,” the scholar reminds. “Most cobalt, for instance, is dug out in Congo, where child labor is not uncommon, specifically in mining. There are security risks, too, given that mineral processing is concentrated in China.”

And then consider this:

“Increased demand for already-prized minerals is likely to drive up the price of electric cars significantly. The International Energy Agency projects that if electric cars became as prevalent as they would have to be for the world to reach net zero by 2050, the annual total demand for lithium for automobile batteries alone that year would be almost 28 times as much as current annual global lithium production.

“The material prices for batteries this year are more than three times what they were in 2021, and electricity isn’t getting cheaper either.”

Lomborg asks this fundamental, bottom-line economic question:

“We constantly hear that electric cars are the future—cleaner, cheaper and better. But if they’re so good, why does California need to ban gasoline-powered cars? Why does the world spend $30 billion a year subsidizing electric ones?”

Because they are neither cost-effective nor environmentally sustainable and their purchase by the masses can be widespread only if they are subsidized by taxpayers.

Bureaucrats and envirocrats are hoping the gullible masses follow them down what they claim is the road to economic and environmental nirvana. But those not-so-gullible masses, speaking with their pocketbooks – and their brains — fully understand that this path is nothing but the road to perdition.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (