Biden begins to admit defeat on electric vehicles


As unsold electric vehicles pile up on dealer lots and manufacturers announce production cuts after billion-dollar losses, President Joe Biden began to admit defeat for his clean energy agenda this month, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back Clean Air Act regulations mandating two-thirds of all cars sold by 2032 must be electric vehicles.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Goosed by $7,500 federal tax credits, consumers were supposed to be buying electric vehicles in droves. Ford, for example, projected sales of 150,000 F-150 Lightnings in 2023. Instead, it sold just 24,000. That’s a lot of unwanted $60,000 vehicles.

Consumers have every reason to reject Biden’s push for electrification, especially for popular models such as the F-150. As many drivers are finding out this winter, the average capacity for an electric vehicle battery drops by 25% in cold weather. Throw on a trailer, as many F-150 owners want to do, and the battery range falls even further. Same goes for any adverse condition such as muddy or wet terrain.

Then, there is the shortage of working EV charging stations. Currently, there are only 172,000 charging stations nationwide. Analysts estimate more than 2 million will be needed to make charging an EV as easy as gassing a combustion engine. That’s assuming all those charging stations actually work. Even in San Francisco, a hotbed of EV adoption, a recent study found that on any given day, 1 in 4 existing charging stations in the metro area doesn’t work. Frustrated EV owners are telling their friends, and their friends aren’t buying electric cars.

Biden may not care about what consumers want, but he does care what the automobile worker unions want. The unions are telling Biden the forced switch to EVs is not working out for them. With demand failing to meet expectations, factories have been shuddered, and families have been forced to move. Biden’s EV push has been a disaster for union households.

Succumbing to this union pressure, Biden is pushing back the pain of his EV mandate plan. The EPA is still keeping Biden’s “two-thirds of all vehicles sold must be electric by 2032” mandate, but instead of a gradual transition, Biden is pushing off any enforcement of the measure until 2030. In other words, carmakers and the autoworker unions they employ will be spared any pain from Biden’s EV mandate now, but come 2030, they will be facing an impossibly attainable EV mandate cliff.

No one believes automakers will be able suddenly to transition their fleets to two-thirds electric between 2030 and 2032. Biden is essentially reversing his policy without admitting it. This will leave the entire auto industry in regulatory uncertainty for over a decade. That’s not good for anyone.


Instead of pretending that his original EV goals are still attainable, Biden needs to admit defeat and rescind his Clean Air Act EV mandate entirely. The Clean Air Act was never designed to manage climate change, and Biden is abusing his authority by using it to dictate the kinds of vehicles car companies produce.

By all means, use the Clean Air Act to make combustion engines as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. But the law was never intended to spell the end of gas-powered cars, and Biden should abandon his attempt to use it in that manner.


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