Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 8, 2021
Across America, we want our roadways to be safer, cleaner and more accessible. Electric-vehicle (EV) technologies may appear to offer clear-cut solutions to modern challenges, but government action to limit Americans’ transportation choice could leave everyday drivers high and dry.
What Americans May Not Know: New cars, SUVs and pickup trucks that are powered by internal combustion engines have become much more efficient over the last few decades. This is in large part because the U.S. energy and automobile industries have invested in lightweight innovations to improve vehicle fuel efficiency while keeping passengers safe. Indeed, multiple studies show that, on a lifecycle basis, different automobile powertrains result in similar greenhouse gas emissions.
Relatedly, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies have concluded that plastics and composite materials – which are primarily manufactured using petroleum feedstocks – can considerably reduce the weight of vehicles while meeting performance and safety requirements. And don’t forget today’s cars are about 99% cleaner for most tailpipe pollutants compared to vehicles in 1970.
To be clear, there is room on our roads for every type of powertrain – including EVs. But we should be careful to avoid government interventions that disrupt the marketplace, limit consumer choice and produce unintended results.
Posted February 2, 2021
Tucked in one of the Biden administration’s executive orders on climate is a directive to use the federal government’s procurement powers to achieve or facilitate “clean and zero-emission vehicles for Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets, including vehicles of the United States Postal Service.” The order also requires that fleet electrification fit with the administration’s support for union jobs and conforms to its “Made in America” principles.
Read below for a look at the facts on challenges linked to the size and scope of the directive, as well as concern that U.S. consumers and taxpayers should have over issues including the ownership costs of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), battery disposal, infrastructure costs and the potential for increased reliance on automotive components made by non-U.S. based workers.
First, we’ll focus on a fundamental concern, which is the government, in a market-based economy, taking policy actions to push the market and consumers toward a specific policy outcome. Basically, it’s the government picking winners and losers for consumers.
Posted September 24, 2020
Four observations about California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order requiring that by 2035 all new cars sold in the state must be zero-emission vehicles – as well as his push for halting fracking in the state:
1. The governor's executive order could seriously impact middle-class Californians.
2. Seriously, a zero-emissions mandate in a state that has struggled to keep the lights on?
3. There's rhetoric and there's reality.
4. State natural gas and oil production is being targeted.
Posted March 11, 2020
Several states are taking the lead to promote electric vehicles (EVs), and they’re not the states that produce them. From California and Oregon to New Jersey and Maryland, their promotions are mainly efforts intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
But even with large state incentives, are consumers onboard?
Posted May 21, 2019
Having already shelled out $2.2 billion for the federal tax credit for purchases of electric vehicles (EV) between 2011 and 2017, U.S. taxpayers could see that cost increase seven-fold over the next decade – while yielding negligible results, according to a new study.
Coupled with the fact that upper-income households have bought most of the EVs sold in the U.S. (and benefited from these tax subsidies), the report continues to raise questions about the EV subsidy and legislation that would expand it.
Posted November 30, 2018
With the Edison Electric Institute celebrating 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads with a forum event in Washington, D.C., let’s talk, again, about some EV realities – which is important as the buzz around EVs grows. Let’s discuss subsidies, real consumer costs, emissions and batteries.
Posted September 11, 2018
To mark National Drive Electric Week, as well as discussions of electric vehicles (EVs) likely at this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, let’s underscore some important perspective on EVs contained in this recent piece by Axios.
Amy Harder’s column compares the carbon dioxide emissions saved by each Tesla EV to the CO2 savings of other sources of energy, including natural gas. Noting Tesla’s July announcement that it had passed the 200,000 mark for vehicles sold in the U.S., Harder – assisted by think tank Third Way – wrote that a nuclear reactor replacing coal equals the CO2 savings of 541,353 Teslas. Natural gas replacing one coal plant equals the CO2 savings of 98,940 Teslas, and so on.
Harder’s piece isn’t a knock against Tesla, just one EV manufacturer, or EVs in general. Rather, it suggests that a national discussion of EVs should be fact-based, and that we might need to tap the brakes a bit on EV technology’s emissions impacts.
Posted June 29, 2018
A coalition of consumer-focused industries is making the case that consumers, and not government, should choose the car they buy and drive – responding to the automobile associations’ request for additional subsidies from the taxpayers to pay for electric vehicles (EV).
Posted August 26, 2010