Energy expert: Companies, markets should dictate electric car switch, not government plans

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The White House’s approved spending to expand the charging station network for electric vehicles (EVs) will not help the areas that need it most, an energy expert told FOX Business. 

The Biden administration and Departments of Transportation and Energy have pledged $5 billion of investment from the president’s infrastructure bill to build out the national EV charging network. 

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program will make some funds available after states submit a development plan for how they plan to use the funds, but the Honorable Jason Isaac, director of Life:Powered at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told FOX Business that the money will end up where it’s not needed.

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Tesla automobile plugged in and charging a Supercharger rapid battery charging station for the electric vehicle company Tesla Motors, in the Silicon Valley town of Mountain View, California, August 24, 2016. | Getty Images

"I’d say this is more of the government trying to pick winners and losers, and when they do that, as we’ve seen first-hand here in Texas with our electric grid, the American people end up the losers regardless of any subsidies or dollars that are being pushed," Isaac said. 

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"It’s going to increase the number of charging stations around the country, it’s not going to do it in an efficient manner, and it’s going to continue to benefit the high-income earners in this country rather than the least among us," he added. 

The government has pushed for car companies to pursue EVs and consumers to buy them, which is going to add stress to the systems as states push to rapidly expand capabilities to handle the greater demand that will result from it. Isaac believes the money will mostly end up in larger states, like New York and California, rather than the states where the manufacture of EVs occurs. 

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Most car manufacturing occurs in states like Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA INC.923.39+0.96+0.10%
FFORD MOTOR CO.18.01-0.07-0.39%
RIVNRIVIAN AUTOMOTIVE INC.66.25-0.04-0.06%

The Department of Energy told FOX Business that "the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law specifically outlines the opportunity for states to work with private companies to build and operate charging infrastructure and we expect many of them will do so."

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But Isaac argued that the market should overall dictate how the money is distributed – and that demand should also drive the changeover to electric vehicles   

"I think the best way to build infrastructure is with private companies doing it rather than the government actually doing it," Isaac said. "There’s just so much waste we’ve seen throughout the history of government when they tend to do things themselves rather than private companies."

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"Ideally, it’s the market that’s been driving this, that if Tesla sees they’ve been selling cars in a certain area that they partner with someone to build stations, not using tax-payer funded dollars," he added, calling it "a hidden tax" that will be "passed on to those who can’t afford to buy electric vehicles." 

A White House spokesperson told FOX Business that the Build Back Better agenda will make power grids "more resilient" and the Biden administration will "continue to invest in and create opportunities for additional energy sources to supplement grids." 

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