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Delaware Citizens to Become Californians

By: Hon. William L. Witham, Jr., Advisory Board Member, A Better Delaware

It would appear that Delaware is embarking on directly controlling the technological development of transportation for Delaware citizens. We may be faced, if the current Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) plans are adopted to be treated as if we are residents of California without our consent. I will not deal with the obvious legal issues with this concept since the rules in question are not the same ones unveiled for public comment and discussion under the state administrative procedures act. This fact may very well undermine the ability of DNREC to impose the proposed regulations.

DNREC seeks a goal for zero- emission vehicles by 82% by 2035. This is only about 11 years away. The plan is to have car manufacturers sell only emission- free vehicles by this date with only 18% allocated to traditional gas-powered vehicles. This seems to be an impossible task since this will cause an economic upheaval to say the least.

What is remarkable is that DNREC admits that thousands of Delawareans submitted comments, attended public meetings, and responded to polls and the result? The people have spoken – they oppose this radical agenda. Our tone-deaf DNREC bureaucrats say they are doing this for our own good – such hubris and arrogance cannot be ignored.

Increasingly, all Americans are rejecting the aim to electrify transportation, home heating, and all appliances and rely on power mostly generated by wind and solar. We all know for a fact that currently this is not possible without fossil fuels as backup for wind and solar. The most economically emission free fuel is nuclear, but the environmentalists refuse to consider this source. Despite pushing generous subsidies, EVs are piling up on dealer lots. Recently 3,881 car dealers signed a letter pleading with the President to back off on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate. Initially, there was great public interest in the new technology of electric vehicles.  They seem to work well for commuter buyers with short distances to travel with easy access to charging in garages overnight or at work with a second car, usually gas-powered for longer trips.

We are now learning of the myriad of problems associated with EVs. They are expensive to build and purchase, thus the governmental subsidies. They have a more limited range and greater weight than cars or trucks. Large trucks would require larger batteries, less space for cargo and go fewer miles, thus increasing the transportation costs for all Americans. Unreliability is a key factor. According to a study by Consumer Reports, many EVs are less reliable than gas or diesel engines or hybrids. They have higher repair costs. A battery replacement can cost over $20,000. They do not do well in accidents. On average, they cost 23% more to insure than gasoline- powered cars and when they catch on fire, it is burn, baby burn! The fires are very difficult to put out.

On average an EV with a sticker price of about $53,000, would cost about $100,000 without government incentives to the purchaser and manufacturer. The main reason you see these vehicles on the road is not because of a generalized consumer choice, but government mandates.

We have not touched upon the economic hardships that dealers, repair shops, supply chains, and trucking industries will face. With an 82% reduction of gas-powered cars by 2035, We do not have the necessary infrastructure to support the effort. Slow and inefficient chargers will not help. We will experience once again, long lines at gas stations in the 70s. The demand on our energy grid will increase and make electricity more expensive.

Automakers are already responding by cutting back on EV production. Ford revealed that its EV division posted a quarterly loss of $1.33 billion and lost $1.08 in the previous quarter. The same for GM. Their losses total $1.5 billion in profits this quarter. These losses will continue so long as our government enforces unsustainable mandates to implement fossil fuel-free or “net Zero energy systems. Delaware has yet to address the significant economic, societal, or environmental consequences of a near-total reliance on renewable energy and the required battery-backup that is necessary to transition to a fossil fuel free future.

Witham is a recently retired Kent County Resident Judge and has served over 40 years in Delaware’s justice system. He is also a former leader in the US Army Reserve and National Guard with 34 years of service.