Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Idahoans deserve access to affordable, reliable vehicles fueled by American-made energy products. However, the Biden Administration’s proposed vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards would go too far—restricting affordable choices for families and pushing our country toward greater dependence on China.
The Biden Administration put forward two proposals threatening the affordability and availability of vehicle options for American families: 1) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the most aggressive tailpipe emissions proposal ever crafted; and 2) the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed fuel economy standards that would require automakers to more than double average fleet-wide fuel economy in less than 10 years. These proposals would essentially mandate the mass production of electric vehicles (EVs) and a phase out of gas-powered cars and trucks.
But, the standards are unrealistic and likely unachievable. China currently controls a majority of the production capacity of EV batteries, as well as the processing and refining capacity of the critical minerals needed for the batteries. The EV mandates also ignore the reality that EVs are not a practical option for most Americans, due to their higher sticker prices and insurance premiums, shorter average driving ranges, limited access to charging stations and other challenges. The average price of an EV remains substantially higher than that of a gas-powered vehicle, even with significant taxpayer-funded subsidies, and the average household income for an EV owner is over $100,000, which equates to about only 31 percent of U.S. households.
Further, an EV-focused approach limits access to vehicles and fuel options that would better meet consumer needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. EVs may not emit at the tailpipe, but they still have a carbon footprint. A realistic, technology-neutral approach, taking into account the full lifecycle emissions of both the vehicle and fuel, would more effectively address greenhouse gas emissions while preserving consumer choice.
In response, I am taking a number of steps to stop the Administration’s EV mandates and push for a more sensible approach:
I support a free market approach to the production of EVs for those who choose to drive them, but an EV mandate when U.S. production, access to needed minerals and our infrastructure cannot back it is the wrong way to go. I will continue pushing for a more sensible approach for Idahoans.
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