Weekly Column

Our nation’s government was founded on a system of checks and balances. We have three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. After escaping from a tyrannical monarchy, our founders were concerned that one branch might become more powerful than the others, focused on accomplishing its own goals rather than those of the American people.

As a member of the U.S. Senate, I am working to fulfill a purpose of the legislative branch by curbing the excesses of the executive branch — the Biden administration. The administration recently issued new regulations cracking down on vehicle emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls these regulations an “emissions plan,” but this “plan” is really a pipe dream. The administration wants 67% of the cars in the country to be electric by 2032, just nine years from now. Last year, electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for 6% of new automobile sales. The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2030, EVs will only make up 15% of the vehicles in our country.

The administration’s new emissions standards are essentially an EV mandate. These standards make it harder for people to drive gas-powered cars, in an attempt to coerce Americans into purchasing electric vehicles that cost about as much as the average family makes in a year. The Biden administration is ignoring the many complexities at play when it comes to EVs.

Electric vehicles rely on the electric power grid, and a massive increase in EV use due to a mandate could cause serious issues with the grid. During a heat wave last September, power authorities in California asked residents to avoid charging electric cars in the evenings, for fear that the power grid would malfunction from being overwhelmed. 

EVs also have a strong impact on our roads. Right now, only gas-powered cars pay into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which provides 90 percent of federal highway assistance. Electric vehicles do not. This fund repairs wear and tear from vehicles on the highway. Electric vehicles can weigh up to three times as much as gas-powered cars because of their heavy batteries. That weight pulverizes the road bed, causing more maintenance and more costs. The HTF exists to fix exactly the type of damage that heavy EVs can cause — so it’s only fair that both types of vehicles pay into the fund. I plan to introduce a bill soon that will fix this discrepancy.

The repercussions of an EV mandate go beyond America’s borders. Sixty to 100% of battery minerals are processed in China, according to SAFE, an energy think tank. Our domestic supply is nowhere near meeting the demand that would result from this regulation. A push for EVs is a push for energy dependence on China — and China is not our friend.

Studies also show that Americans aren’t even that interested in EVs. A Gallup poll found that 4% of Americans own an EV, and only 12% are seriously considering getting one. Forty-one percent claimed they will never buy an EV. A Pew Research poll found that the majority of Americans oppose the Biden administration’s plan to phase out gasoline-powered cars and trucks by 2035.

I support Americans’ right to buy electric vehicles if they so choose — but they should also have the right not to buy one. Our government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. This federal mandate is of the EPA, by the EPA, and for the EPA. It’s not based on the interests of the people, but the interests of a power-hungry White House.

The Biden administration’s plan for a utopia of green vehicles is a cute idea, but it’s completely out of touch with reality. It’s also out of touch with Americans’ real needs and desires. This administration must stop with top-down mandates that force Americans into outcomes they wouldn’t choose themselves. As your senator, I will continue to oppose this administration’s overreach. 

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

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