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Protecting consumer choice and standing up to Biden’s EV mandate

This article was originally published in The Washington Times.

By Representative Troy Balderson

Since day one, the Biden administration has made it clear that its top priority is the full-scale adoption of its radical climate agenda. From banning gas stoves to forcing the retirement of power plants, the administration is showing its willingness to restrict consumer rights and undermine American energy security for the sake of climate politics.

The latest attack on consumers comes from the Environmental Protection Agency, which announced a proposed rule earlier this year that would result in a de facto mandate requiring that two-thirds of new vehicles be electric vehicles by 2032. This shortsighted rule by the EPA strong-arms manufacturers into building cars that do not reflect market demand.

In fact, last month, nearly 4,000 car dealers from all 50 states joined a letter to President Biden urging him to slow down the EPA’s proposed rule. Dealers are on the front lines of the auto industry and understand what buyers want. In their letter, they state one thing loud and clear: Consumers are not ready for a fully electric future.

For many consumers, the drawbacks of owning an EV far outweigh the benefits. For example, the range of EVs rapidly decreases when driven in less-than-ideal conditions. Highway driving, cold weather, and towing all slash the range of battery-powered cars. Cold can cut the range of an electric vehicle by over 40%.

Beyond not meeting consumer needs, electric vehicles prove far less reliable than their gasoline-powered counterparts, according to Consumer Reports. Their recent survey of EV owners found that vehicle model years 2021 through 2023 encountered nearly 80% more problems than conventional cars.

It’s no wonder Ford and General Motors recently announced they are bracing for flattening EV demand, cutting back investment in EV production, and reassessing their EV production goals for 2024. Even the bestselling all-electric pickup, the Ford F-150 Lightning, will see its production cut in half next year.

Ironically, the EPA’s proposed rules come at a time when the administration is pushing to scale back our capacity to charge these vehicles.

Earlier this year, PJM — one of the nation’s largest power grid operators — released an alarming report about the long-term reliability of the electric grid. According to their research, 40 gigawatts of generation are at risk of retirement by 2030, mainly due to heavy-handed state and federal policies.

These retirements are driven by far-left policies such as President Biden’s proposal to require fossil fuel power plants to retrofit facilities to cut or capture their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040 and utilize hydrogen co-firing. This kind of federal mandate is expensive and disruptive to power providers across the country, leading many of them to permanently shutter their plants instead of complying with costly retrofits.

By the way, carbon capture, the technology at the heart of Mr. Biden’s proposed rule, has yet to be successfully deployed on a commercial scale.

This effort by the EPA to weaken our grid’s capacity while mandating widespread adoption of EVs and increasing power demand is a recipe for disaster. Earlier this month, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. issued its annual long-term reliability assessment.

This report finds that power demand in North America is growing at the fastest rate in 30 years. Over the next decade, summer peak demand will rise by over 79 gigawatts, while peak demand for winter will increase by nearly 91 gigawatts. At the same time, NERC estimates that 83 gigawatts of fossil fuels and nuclear power plants are expected to retire — which will only worsen if the EPA’s Clean Power Plan 2.0 goes into effect.

If the Biden administration continues down this path, communities across the country should prepare for rolling blackouts and unexpected power interruptions in the not-so-distant future.

Fortunately, the House sprang into action this month and passed the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act in a bipartisan vote of 221-197. This bill would block the EPA’s EV mandate and preserve consumers’ right to buy the car that best fits their needs.

I am also proud to have been an original co-sponsor of the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, which passed the House in September. In May, California asked the EPA for a waiver to implement an all-out ban on combustion engine vehicles. If approved, other progressive states would soon follow suit, restricting consumer choice for millions of Americans. This bill also passed with a bipartisan vote.

At every level across the country, there is a clear, organized effort to implement a radical climate agenda through one-size-fits-all policies. And while the Democratic-led Senate has declared that these bipartisan bills won’t see the light of day, House Republicans will continue to fight for consumer choice and America’s energy security.

Click here to read the original article published by The Washington Times. 

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