The Biden administration has set out to diminish our nation’s climate impact through various regulations and policies, many of which have been misguided and counterproductive. That agenda has borne itself out with federal agencies rapidly accelerating climate action by proposing their own rules, like the Environmental Protection Agency.
In April, the EPA introduced two proposed rules that intend to set emissions standards for nearly every road vehicle — ensuring that two-thirds of light- and medium-duty vehicles sold in 2032 will be electric vehicles. The EPA and the administration have continually failed to realize the consequences these rapid-paced actions will have on American consumers who didn’t sign up for this scheme.
Following the recent announcement by Ford stating that its EV operation will cost them nearly $5 billion in operating losses, it is evident that automakers won’t be the only ones hurting if these rules are implemented. Ford’s retail shareholders will suffer from Ford’s poor investment.
EVs sit at a much higher price point than their counterparts — gas-powered vehicles — costing nearly $12,000 more. But for many consumers, this jump in price is something that many cannot necessarily afford. A LendingClub report noted that the number of Americans living paycheck to paycheck jumped to 64 percent last year, with 73 percent of those consumers struggling to pay bills. For these consumers, the expectation of being able to afford nearly $1,000 more each month for a car would send many into financial ruin.
For seniors, the unaffordability imposed through these rulemakings would jeopardize the financial quality of life that those reliant on Social Security have. According to data in U.S. News & World Report, the average Social Security benefit increased to $1,827 per month, but to afford an average of $61,488 for an EV, seniors would need 2.5 times the amount to afford these cars.
In addition to the financial strain these rules would inflict, many consumers would see their choice of cars to purchase decline. For some, the lack of choice they would have would force them to make lifestyle choices that might not fit their immediate needs. After all, a car purchase is a significant financial decision that requires financial literacy and the availability of personal funds.
To make matters worse, more than half of seniors are not interested in an electric vehicle, according to recent Pew Research data. The administration’s decision to force financially cash-strapped consumers to purchase EVs is not the path that should be taken. For some less fortunate consumers, the car they rely on is the one they have invested their money into to try to make it last. As soon as the vehicle runs its course and comes to the end of its durable life, these consumers will be left with no choices and told to purchase an EV that will come with a plethora of increased costs.
On top of it all, the demand for EVs is lower than the supply output of automakers and auto dealers. Not only have EV sales dropped, but Cox Automotive reported that EV supply has hit an inflection point with more than 90,000 EVs sitting on lots waiting to be sold, more than four times the inventory from last year.
If the proposed rules are implemented by the EPA, the rapid increase in production needed to meet their outrageous EV supply requirements of two-thirds of new cars sold to be 100 percent electric before 2032 will create even more problems. Most segments of the business community oppose this harmful rule. More than 100 trade organizations, ranging from agricultural groups to auto associations, have expressed their concerns with these proposed rules in a letter to President Biden in July. They called out the EPA’s narrow focus on electric vehicles to achieve climate goals and neglected to consider cleaner alternative fuels that could be used instead.
The proposed EPA tailpipe emissions rules would turn many worlds of consumers upside down. The administration needs to rethink all aspects of the implications of the regulations before imposing unrealistic expectations on our nation’s consumers.