Greed, not the Environment, is the Driving Force Pushing EV Agenda in California & Oregon
Profits, Not Environment, Is Driving Force of Electric Vehicle Adoption in California and Oregon, Experts Claim
By: Katie Spence
Specifically, Oregon said it’ll update its Advanced Clean Cars II law proposal to include a gas-powered vehicle ban in 2035. And Washington said it would adopt a version of California’s rule by year’s end.
Notably, California’s argument for the ban is that gas-powered vehicles contribute to climate change, while electric vehicles (EV) are “environmentally friendly” because they’re “zero-emission vehicles”—a claim that’s dubious, at best.
Image above: California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 11, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Indeed, EVs are only “zero-emissions” at point-of-use, and the components of lithium-ion batteries are hazardous to the environment.
Despite the negative environmental impacts, state governments are essentially forcing EV adoption. Some critics, like John Hadder, the Director of Great Basin Resource Watch (GBRW), a mining watchdog group, point to profits as the reason.
“There may be other batteries or technologies such as fuel cells that are being sidelined by industrialists who care mostly about profits than what is in the public good,” Hadder told The Epoch Times.
Automotive Lobby Group Pushes EV Increase
In 2020, overall car sales decreased by 16 percent. However, according to the International Energy Agency, EV sales reached a record three million, an increase of 40 percent from 2019.
Further, EV sales represent a more profitable venture for auto manufacturers and car dealers. On July 12, Kelley Blue Book reported that the average cost of an EV was more than $66,000, while the price for an average gas-powered vehicle was $43,942—a $22,000 difference.
However, in its April 2021 report, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a Washington-based trade association and lobby group representing domestic and international auto manufacturers, lamented the slow EV adoption rate,
“Although consumer interest continues to grow … EVs only made up roughly two percent of new vehicle sales—or approximately 300,000 vehicles out of the 14.5 million vehicles sold [in the United States] in 2020.”
Image above: Kamala Harris charges an electric vehicle in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Dec. 13, 2021. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)
To increase EV adoption, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation suggested “a sustained, holistic approach with a broad range of legislative and regulatory policies rooted in economic, social, environmental, and cultural realities.”
To that policy and regulatory end, on Aug. 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its “Proposed Revision to the 2023 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards,” which, among other things, states,
“A shift to zero-emission vehicle technologies is already underway. … Major automakers as well as many global jurisdictions and U.S. states have announced plans to shift the light-duty fleet toward zero-emissions technology.”
Additionally, the Clean Air Act incentivizes states to follow federal requirements or adopt California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations concerning new vehicles.
Image above: Joe Biden drives a Hummer EV as he tours the General Motors ‘Factory ZERO’ electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, on Nov. 17, 2021. (Jonathan Erns/REUTERS)
Ten states followed California’s regulations—Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The requirements include that seven to 10 percent of new vehicles must be electric vehicles in 2025, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation reports.
But, the ZEV regulations weren’t progressive enough for California, and on Aug. 25, the California Air Resources Board voted to ban the sale of gas-powered cars completely.
Importantly, the plan takes a stepped approach to the total ban. In 2026, 35 percent of all car sales in California must be fully electric or fuel-cell vehicles; 68 percent of all car sales must be fully electric or fuel-cell by 2030, and by 2035, no gasoline vehicle sales will be allowed on the market.
“Once again, California is leading the nation and the world with a regulation that sets ambitious but achievable targets for ZEV sales. Rapidly accelerating the number of ZEVs on our roads and highways will deliver substantial emission and pollution reductions to all Californians, especially for those who live near roadways and suffer from persistent air pollution,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph.
On Aug. 26, Allied Market Research published “Electric Utility Vehicle Market.” It states, “the global electric utility vehicle industry accounted for $8.59 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach $24.98 billion by 2031, growing at a [Compounded Annual Growth Rate] of 11.4 percent from 2022 to 2031.”
Still, another report titled “Personal Electric Vehicle Cars: Market Shares, Strategies, and Forecasts Worldwide” found that “The global electric vehicle market … is projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2025. Unit sales are anticipated to reach 97 million vehicles worldwide by 2025.”
Indeed, estimates vary, but it’s generally agreed that worldwide, the electric vehicle (EV) market will be worth trillions by 2025. And because most EVs rely on lithium-ion batteries, mining this element is lucrative, to say the least, with some estimates putting the value at $94.4 billion by 2025.
Pointedly, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reported in its white paper, “There is one motivation that may even greatly surpass the clean air, climate change, and oil dependence benefits for some governments. That is the motivation to economically benefit from manufacturing of the future electric car industry."
Image above: With Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) looking on, Joe Biden hands Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) the pen he used to sign into law the so-called Inflation Reduction Act at the White House in Washington, on Aug. 16. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
“Economies like Japan, Germany, and the United States, among others where there is major automobile manufacturing, have the most to lose if they do not lead in the transition to electric vehicles.”
Importantly, the paper suggests that previous “ground-up” policies—incentives, promotions, etc.—haven’t been enough to encourage EV adoption and gain market share. Consequently, governments are using “top-down” efforts—laws, regulations, etc.—to spur EV manufacturing and sales.
“The massive production scale of the auto industry makes it of critical importance in most major economies around the world because of the manufacturing jobs and the revenue involved.”
Significantly, a report on IOP Science titled “Environmental and economic impact of electric vehicle adoption in the U.S.” found,
“Although BEV [Battery Electric Vehicle] adoption leads to decreases in tailpipe emissions, increased manufacturing activity as a result of productivity increases or subsidies can lead to growth in non-tailpipe emissions that cancels out some or all of the tailpipe emissions savings.”
Source: The Epoch Times (Premium)