A Dozen More States Virtue Signaling Over Vehicle Bans



Having noticed that Washington got a bit of publicity for vowing to ban all vehicles reliant on internal combustion after 2030, a dozen other American states decided it would be a good idea to reaffirm their own religious-like commitment to the environment by saying they too will be restricting your choice of automobiles by 2035.

The coalition of states — most of which don’t have a populace that’s dependent on automotive manufacturing for work — also formally asked the Biden administration to introduce standards that would obligate the United States to ban everything that emits smoke within the next fifteen years. Many activist groups are calling it a heroic act, though it’s difficult to recall any parables where the hero went around banning things and also represented an institutional power structure. 

Requests were issued in a letter to the White House and signed by the governors of the following states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. Initially reported by Reuters, the correspondence mentions that there’s no framework in the Biden-Harris administration’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that would progress the country toward an all-out ICE ban.

From Reuters:

They argued that “by establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emission, we can finally clear the air and create high-road jobs.”

The governors also want Biden to set standards and adopt incentives aimed at ensuring 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.

The White House did not immediately comment on the governors’ letter.

States and some lawmakers hope that Biden’s endorsement of a phase-out date will speed the transition to EVs by users and automakers. EVs currently make up just 2 [percent] of U.S. vehicle sales.

This comes directly after the president has seen increased pressure from Democrat lawmakers to adopt California’s aggressive environmental doctrine on a national scale, which includes the prohibition of gasoline and diesel-driven passenger vehicles by 2035. While Biden’s opposition to the proposal during the 2020 campaign might lead you to believe this is a waste of time, the administration has actually gone back on numerous issues since the election — with fracking bans probably being one of the more relevant examples.

While it’s certainly possible, we’re not expecting anything committal from the White House. Truth be told, we’re not even all that confident most of these states will adhere to the timelines they’re demanding. These internal combustion bans usually seem to be more about scoring brownie points with a subset of the public than trying to establish realistic environmental policies and that’s one reason you see them constantly revised or pushed back to later dates.

The industry does this as well, vowing to provide rampant electrification or autonomous capabilities within the lineups of various brands by some irrelevant date that is perpetually revised in the hopes that you’ll have forgotten the original target. But the UAW is clearly getting worried. With EVs requiring few man-hours to manufacture, union groups around the world are becoming fearful that the transition to electric cars will mean massive layoffs. However, governments always claim that the road to electrification and automation will ultimately create new jobs in exciting technical fields that will offer much better pay than a line worker could have hoped for.

[Image: Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock]


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