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State selling myths about gas vehicles

From: Cape Gazette

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

A Delaware agency is preparing a regulation to require auto manufacturers to sell only electric-powered vehicles. EVs now account for less than 1% of new vehicle sales. This is an effective ban on cars and trucks powered by gasoline. The state is selling this to the public with a series of myths highlighted below. 

EVs will end motor vehicle air pollution. Conventional vehicles have already reduced two pollutants 83% and 91%, respectively, and will continue to fall rapidly as older vehicles leave the fleet.  Delaware meets all air pollution standards. We have clean air. Much of our electricity comes from coal- and natural gas-powered plants. Line losses waste 11% of that power, and another 10% is lost converting from AC current to DC current to charge the batteries. Many studies show EVs cradle-to-grave emissions are higher as minerals used in 1,000-pound batteries require moving 150,000 pounds of dirt and rock. In the end, very little carbon dioxide is saved, if any. 

EVs will save on fuel cost. Most EV charging is done overnight at home at lower rates, but as more EVs hit the road, special rates will end. EVs currently don’t pay taxes for road repairs. New taxes are coming based on miles driven using intrusive devices to track driving. Massive investments needed in electricity infrastructure to support charging will drive electric rates up.  

EVs will be price competitive. There are nine vehicle models available both as conventional and EV options. The average price premium for the EVs is $14,000. Federal legislation provided $7,500 per EV subsidies and many auto manufacturers raised vehicle prices by about that amount. Caution should be shown in buying a used EV. GM’s list price for a replacement battery at eight years or 1000,000 miles is $16,250 plus $870 to install it. 

The proposed regulation is not a ban on gasoline-powered vehicles. Once the 100% EV requirement goes into effect, you will not be allowed to register a new gasoline-powered vehicle in Delaware. That’s a ban. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is forcing the new regulation based on regional pollution violations. New Castle County is included in a greater Philadelphia non-attainment region.  However, the county and the 10 next closest upwind air quality monitoring stations now meet all air quality standards, proving the county is not contributing to upwind pollution. Delaware is now in a position to petition to be removed from the non-attainment region. Doing so reduces the stringency for new air quality permits and is considered and economic development advantage.

An underlying question is if all these myths are true, why is a government mandate even needed? Won’t people flock to buy EVs? Anyone who wants to buy an EV should be able to, but without government-enforced subsidies or mandates. See our public comments to the state on the proposed regulation for detailed sources at tinyurl.com/5n6mdp6a.

David T. Stevenson
Director, Center for Energy & Environment
Caesar Rodney Institute