The Column, No. 140:

The Great Electric Vehicle Rip-off of 2022

By Randy Wakeman

My Husqvarna ST224, above, is on the California banned list effective January 1, 2024.

Few Americans are aware that driving an electric vehicle may increase your fuel costs by fifty percent or more. Yet, that's exactly what Anderson Economic Group EV Transition Series: Report No. 1 shows, published October 21,2021: Comparison: Real World Cost of Fueling EVs and ICE Vehicles. In some ways, it is far worse than the analysis suggests, for the cost of charging a battery in New York or California is double that of some other states.

This is astonishingly bad for the wallets of working American families: the families that politicians invariably promise to save, and just as invariably fail at it. This adds injury to insult, as few bloviating bureaucrats bother to speak truth. Of course, no one can accurately predict where gasoline or electricity costs will land in one, two, or ten years, but thinking there is actually a savings to fuel an electric car is a wild assumption. The taxpayer dollars are already invested (wasted) to foist electric vehicles on the public.

The White House has stated, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $5 billion in formula funding for states with a goal to build a national charging network. 10% is set-aside each year for the Secretary to provide grants to States to help fill gaps in the network. The Law also provides $2.5 billion for communities and corridors through a competitive grant program that will support innovative approaches and ensure that charger deployment meets Administration priorities such as supporting rural charging, improving local air quality and increasing EV charging access in disadvantaged communities. Together, this is the largest-ever U.S. investment in EV charging and will be a transformative down payment on the transition to a zero-emission future.”

According to the EPA, 25% of greenhouse gases in the United States comes from electricity production itself. With 62% of our electricity coming from fossil fuels, charging batteries is anything but clean. Worse yet, the United States exports much of its carbon production to China, where batteries, solar panels, and wind power units are largely made. Most of China's electricity comes from coal: 65% in 2019. Burning coal to make toxic waste batteries, solar panels, and wind power bakes in a large carbon footprint during production, long before these items are ever used.

The notion of zero-emission is laudatory, but the reality is that electricity production in the United States is anything but. Natural gas is used for about 40% of electricity production, with coal at around 20% in the United States. About 26% of total U.S. energy consumption in 2020 was for transporting people and goods from one place to another. You don't have to be good at math to see that almost three-quarters of U.S. energy use is not for transportation at all. You would hope that government has learned something from expensive, bitter failures like E85 / “Flex Fuel,” but apparently this is not the case. The latest study suggests that use of ethanol at all is worse for the enviornment that 100% gasoline: .

Heavier and more expensive, a new electric vehicle has greenhouse gases already emitted when manufactured, along with the land-filling toxic waste of batteries. Three countries—China, Argentina, and Bolivia—account for 58% of the world's lithium reserves, and China is the world's leader in lithium refining. Lithium and cobalt mining carries with it a nice, fat set of environmental concerns and severe human rights abuses in the case of cobalt.

The average cost of electricity, in cents per kilowatt-hour in New York was 20.59 in October, 2021, 22 cents in California, and 22.93 cents in Connecticut. In Arkansas, residential electricity averages 10.76 cents and 11.85 cents in Texas. Yet, zero-emission new vehicles are set to become law in 2035 in New York, where it costs close to double to charge a battery as compared to Arkansas and Texas. In areas where electric vehicles are least affordable, that's often where Big Brother laws are set to force it on the consumer.

More than 85% of the world's freight is transported by sea, meaning massive diesel engines. There are only four firms in the world that can cast and machine the huge crankshafts for the largest container ships: HSD Mechatronics and Hyundai Heavy Industries of Korea, Sidenor of Spain, and Kobe Steel (KOBELCO) of Japan. You'll note that the United States is not present. As far as the complete engines, only MAN SE of Germany, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, and Wärtsilä of Finland can make them. Again, the United States is a no-show.

That's still only part of it. A single Bitcoin transaction is estimated to burn 2,292.5 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power a typical US household for over 78 days. Force-feeding toxic batteries to the American consumer which is only 4-1/2 percent of the world's population, butters no parsnips. Given existing trends, nuclear power's share of U.S. electricity generation could fall from about 19 percent in 2020 to just 11 percent by 2050, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Yet, about half of our carbon-free energy currently comes from nuclear power: a percentage destined to fall.

Following the science is all well and good if it was actually done, but bureaucracy has never resorted to that. No one is seriously talking about banning jet aircraft, diesel combines, diesel sea freighters, diesel freight trains, or diesel construction equipment for that doesn't work, as a matter of practicality or perhaps more important to our appointed big spenders: politically. However, your gasoline-powered snow-blower just might be in peril: it already is, in California. Airlines just got a $54 billion government (taxpayer) bailout. Yet, if you want to mow your lawn or drive your kids to school, you can expect nothing except higher costs and that's just about what you'll get. Batteries not included.

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Copyright 2022 by Randy Wakeman and/or All rights reserved.