Control Is the Aim, EVs Are the Game of the Moment

Control Is the Aim, EVs Are the Game of the Moment

Bob Tomaine NaturalGasNOW
Contributing Writer


[Editor’s Note: Bob Tomaine takes a hard look at the EV game and finds a desire for control and lack of appreciation of the free market at the very heart of the matter.]

From its lowliest municipal employee through its appointed officeholders to its highest elected officials, government at every level thrives on control and that makes it all the more striking to watch what happens when things don’t go the way it wants them to go.

Sometimes, it’s amusing, as illustrated by the reactions of  New Jersey residents who obviously haven’t subscribed to the electric-vehicle madness radiating from President Joe Biden and his followers, but at the same time, there’s more to it than humor. Ford is confronting that inconvenient truth although it’s not quite clear that the automaker has really learned a lesson from the experience. In fact, it could probably pick up a pointer or two from what’s happening with electric vehicles in China. 

What actually happened there is less than certain – it could be the fault of the manufacturers or the rental/ridesharing industry might be to blame or it could all be a China-bashing hoax – but the question that just has to be asked is “if electric vehicles are so wonderful, then why haven’t these cars been sold?” 

Tortured reasoning aside, it’s doubtful that there’s anyone who hasn’t figured out the answer, namely that the demand for EVs isn’t as great as maintained by some of their proponents. Rampant boosters either willingly or innocently just can’t grasp that and instead look for a shadowy conspiracy or some other comparably evil factor to be blamed even as they preach their own dogma.

It doesn’t call for deep thinking to recognize that not everyone wants an electric vehicle or could actually rely on one in the real world. Those who commute perhaps 50 miles one way (or only make shopping trips around town) might easily find an EV practical, but they’re essentially the same group that activists on the left and those in government beholden to the activists see as the primary market for public transportation. 

The two, in effect, cancel each other out – bus patrons don’t need cars and car-owners don’t need buses – or would do so in a genuinely free market where a product sells on its merits and governmental mandates are therefore unnecessary.

But while it’s unmistakably under attack, the free market hasn’t lost its supporters. A “multi-stakeholder letter” signed by more than 100 organizations ranging from the Agricultural Retailers Association to the Wyoming Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association sent to President Biden states their “concern with [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s] proposed rules” would:

 “inhibit the marketplace from identifying the most efficient, lowest cost opportunities to reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions from vehicles and greatly restrict consumer choice. We are concerned that such a prescriptive policy is not in the best interest of the consumer or of U.S. energy and economic security … A diversified portfolio of vehicle and fuel technologies that meets the multitude of transportation needs of Americans and makes meaningful GHG reductions can be achieved while also allowing new zero-emission vehicle (ZEV), and specifically battery electric vehicle (BEV), technologies to advance. Improved crop yield, innovative biofuel and refined product processing, and manufacturing efficiency tied with carbon capture each represent promising advancements for current liquid and gaseous fuels to continue to accelerate emissions reductions.”

The Specialty Equipment Market Association provides some further good news about those unwilling to go quietly. In a press release detailing H.R. 1435, the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, and H.R. 4468, the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act, SEMA states:

“(t)he EPA’s proposal intends to lower carbon emissions in a way that essentially forces battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) to become the only option for automakers to produce. Given the subsidies in place for EV purchases and production, EVs become the de facto choice to achieve the rulemaking’s climate goals, as other options, such as hydrogen, new synthetic fuels, and multiple renewables, do not enjoy a level playing field of subsidies.”  (emphasis added)

In other words, the EPA is intent on overriding the free market to achieve its goals no matter the cost or the impact on individuals. 

There would be no reason to take such a drastic step if EVs were a realistic, universal way to “lower carbon emissions.” Stated differently, forcing drivers to purchase electrics is an admission that they wouldn’t otherwise buy them. 

Like the COVID lockdowns, it’s about nothing more than control, as SEMA notes:

“(i)f finalized, the EPA estimates the rule would lead to electric vehicles (EVs) making up two-thirds of new passenger vehicles sold in the United States by 2032. SEMA opposes the rulemaking, as consumers and the marketplace should be able to choose the vehicle technology that works best for them.”  (emphasis added)


Whether it involved censoring free speech or limiting activities, much of the response to COVID was little more than governments’ taking advantage of a situation to control individuals’ lives. The current push to force electric vehicles on consumers differs primarily in its approach.

The essential point is that unreasonable and damaging governmental edicts – even when enthusiastically supported by complicit “news” media – need to be challenged and don’t always work. But remember, the fact that those edicts mentioned above aren’t guaranteed to succeed doesn’t mean that governments won’t keep right on issuing thousands more of them. One key fact to be kept in mind here is that – while there’s disagreement over its exact phrasing and who said it first – the price of freedom really is eternal vigilance.

Text and Photo Copyright 2023 by Bob Tomaine

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