New Report: Electric Vehicles Aren’t for Everyone
Pursuing the impossible dream of EV-by-fiat will spark harmful consequences
NEW YORK, NY — In the last few years, a dozen U.S. states have joined countries from Ireland to Spain to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines in preference of electric vehicles (EVs). At the national level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed tailpipe emissions rules will effectively force automakers to shift to producing mainly EVs by 2032. The prohibitions, mandates, and accompanying subsidies are all based on the belief that EVs will dramatically cut emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), and that they have achieved economic and operational parity with the petroleum-fueled vehicles most Americans currently drive.
But in a new report, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Mark P. Mills systematically documents the flaws in such claims. Mills documents the fact that no one knows how much, if at all, CO2 emissions will decline as EV use rises. The widespread adoption of EVs would, at best, lead to negligible emissions reductions or even cause emissions to rise as the demand for battery materials explodes. Similarly, the data show that no one knows when or whether EVs will be operationally or economically equivalent to the cars 99% of Americans use, those powered by internal combustion engines.
The arrival of useful EVs is often compared to the transition away from the horse-and-buggy. But governments didn’t have to ban horses to stimulate that revolution. Meanwhile, banning conventional vehicles will lead to draconian financial consequences and inconveniences for the majority of drivers, a reality to which twenty states attorneys general recently testified.
Even without subsidies and mandates, there will be millions more EVs on the roads—though purchased mainly by the wealthy. But banning conventional vehicles will trigger an epic misallocation of capital in the world’s $4-trillion automotive industry, all in the pursuit of emissions goals that aren’t likely to happen.