Buried deeply in the bowels of a 56,342-page Federal Register Volume 88 — along with an environmental assessment accompanying the Department of Transportation’s newly proposed fuel standards — are some candid admissions that electric vehicle- (EV) promoting bureaucrats and subsidy beneficiaries aren’t anxious for any of us to know about.
One is that “Net [social-economic] benefits for passenger cars remain negative across alternatives.”
After factoring in a 2% increase in mandated requirements each year with an estimated $5.8 billion reduction in public welfare spread across the life of total drivers’ cars — including wildly speculative climate change benefits — net costs of transportation “alternatives” proposed by DOT are estimated at very nearly twice that amount ($11 billion).
Another revelation is that even by DOT’s estimates, the proposed legislation would reduce average global temperatures in 2060 by 0.000%.
What a deal … a humongously expensive and disruptive net-zero carbon climate change thwarting goal with net-zero influence!
As pointed out in The Wall Street Journal, “The predictions are full of gimmicky assumptions designed to understate costs.”
Included are omitted opportunity costs, whereby to improve the economy, other popular improvements drivers including structural safety features, trunk space, acceleration, and increasingly rare spare tires to reduce weight are sacrificed.
Meanwhile, as the Journal points out, the costs of paying for any EV “benefits” are now so comically high “that regulators can no longer pretend that mandating greater fuel economy for passenger cars is good for society.”
So, let’s look at that so-called “economy.”
Forgo any illusions that according to Kelley Blue Book, paying an average $11,000 more to buy an EV than a full-sized gas-powered car and nearly $30,000 more than the average compact will be made up in net mileage efficiency advantages, or imagine it as any sort of longer-term trade-in investment.
Forget any notion that all that “green energy” needed to recharge them grows on trees, or that the costs of that electricity won’t escalate as the Biden administration, or any Democrat successor, continues to put the kibosh on fossil fuel that supply more than 80% of U.S. and world energy, replacing it with seasonal and weather-dependent electricity from friendly breezes and sunbeams that produce about 3% combined.
Then try to contemplate how much more of that unreliable, intermittent electricity would be needed to grow currently less than 1% of the 250 million EVs in the U.S. including SUVs and light-duty trucks to fulfill EPA’s de facto mandate for those magical “free energy” plug-ins to make up 17% of the market by 2026.
On top of that, think for a moment about the consequences of adding all those new EV electricity demands to already overloaded power grids, plus depend on China which controls 85% of the world supply of rare earth minerals required for all those solar, wind and EV batteries.
On the resale end, an average on-the-road 12-year-old used EV will be on its second or third new battery before an owner can sell it.
With a Tesla battery typically costing about $10,000, the resale price will likely have to be significantly higher than that of a comparably aged and sized internal combustion model in similar condition.
Expect those battery costs to increase in concert with global demands for nickel — a primary component of lithium-ion cathodes — having already about doubled over the past six years from $10,336 per metric ton in August 2016 to $21,091 in July.
The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that EV drivers not only pay more but also put about half as many miles on their cars as the average driver.
The research suggests EVs’ limited range along with prolonged and limited recharging options have resulted in their use as secondary — not primary — household vehicles.
There’s little wonder then why most EV purchasers are wealthy enough to afford them as second cars, retaining a petroleum-fueled model for long single-day highway trips.
Imagine, for example, the time required to drive farther than 270 miles — the range of a Tesla on a single charge — necessitating at least one stopover at an assumed available interim recharging location.
In this case, estimate that while it will take only 4.5 hours to travel that first 270-mile link, plan for up to an additional hour for a battery recharge … assuming an available supercharge station will be open where and when needed.
That average EV recharging time and range will depend upon seasonal locale temperatures.
Batteries yield about 20% less energy in cold conditions, explaining why most EV owners live in temperate and semi-tropical climates … half in California alone.
According to AAA, cold weather can cut EV range by 12%, a loss that leaps to 41% with the heater on full blast. Running the air conditioner in hot weather takes a similar toll on trip efficiency.
Since EVs cost more to build, automakers jack up the prices of gasoline vehicles to cover production losses.
As CEO Jim Farley of Ford admitted last year, he conspicuously trimmed back Ford’s commitment to EVs, saying the company was losing too much money on them.
Nevertheless, if you like the idea of owning an electric vehicle and can afford one, then go for it!
And if luxuriating on virtue signaling or shaming points with neighbors and friends brightens your day — well, that’s okay too, even though they’re helping you pay for it.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.