Much is happening on the national stage in recent weeks that will have a tremendous impact on motorists for years to come. The laborious, and politically charged, process of negotiating two infrastructure bills has resulted in more than 4200 pages of legislation with plenty of anti-driving provisions contained within.
The other shockwave was caused by President Biden’s executive order to have automakers produce electric vehicles as 40 to 50 percent of their new car production by 2030. Media outlets wanted the motorists’ reaction to the Biden announcement so they contacted the NMA for a policy statement. This was our release to the national press:
NMA Statement on President Biden’s Executive Order on Electric Vehicles
and Vehicle Standard Emissions
August 5, 2021
The National Motorists Association believes it’s unrealistic to require 40 to 50 percent of all new vehicle sales to be zero-emissions electric by 2030. Currently, only 2.1 percent of the roughly 17 million vehicles sold each year in the U.S. are all-electric. In 2020, EV sales dropped by more than 3 percent from 2018. Not every car buyer is enthused by EVs. They will not answer the needs of many drivers who make long trips or who live in extreme climates.
Will the Biden Administration and subsequent presidents commit to technological advances over the next 15 to 20 years that will ease the concern of consumers who, to this point, are not risking their transportation needs to all-electric vehicles? Automakers may support the Biden goal, but sellers need buyers.
Concerns of climate change are the driving force behind the non-binding Biden executive order. Yet, concerns remain about the environmental impact of the lithium-ion batteries that currently power EVs. The cost-benefit effect on the environment of mining lithium in much greater quantities for the auto industry and what to do with the toxic waste from the disposal of used batteries needs further analysis.
An EV battery typically requires replacement every ten years, and today costs about $5,500. That is just one factor why U.S. consumers have not been very enthusiastic about buying EVs.
The 50 percent goal, even with the backing of major automakers, will require significant advances in technology and a selling job to the general public that the benefits of switching to EVs over the next 20 years outweigh the costs to them, to the economy, and the environment.
Those technological advances should also be applied to internal combustion engine designs. Set emission standards that are consistent across the country and that make sense. Produce vehicles, whether EV or ICE-powered, that meet those requirements and then let car buyers decide which option is best for their needs.
As of this writing, the wrangling over infrastructure priorities and spending continues between Republicans and Democrats. There is little reason to believe much will have changed by the time you read this.
In concert with the NMA’s government relations representative in Washington, the NMA is sending out a series of personalized, single-issue emails to the top aides of each congressperson who sits on either the Senate or House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. We must get their attention on the key items in the infrastructure packages that will affect motorists adversely for years, if not generations, to come.
We will report on those NMA policy messages, and reaction to them from legislators or their staffs, starting with next week’s NMA e-newsletter.