April 30, 2019

Surcharge on Electric Cars

Timothy Birdnow

North Carolina joins nine other states in imposing a special surcharge on electric and hybrid vehicles.

According to the NC Observer:

Senate Bill 446 was introduced by Jim Davis and Tom McInnis, Republicans who head the transportation and transportation appropriations committees. The bill is designed to help offset the declining revenue generated by the fuels tax as cars and trucks get better gas mileage or don’t use any gas at all, Davis told transportation committee members Wednesday.

"Right now, they don’t pay any gas tax from the purchase of electricity, and they’re using our roads,” Davis said. "This bill is intended to bring parity so that everybody is contributing their fair share to the gas tax revenue.”

North Carolina’s gas tax, of 36.2 cents a gallon, will generate about $2 billion for the N.C. Department of Transportation, or about 40 percent of its revenue this year.

Owners of electric vehicles have paid a special annual registration fee since 2013, and it was raised to $130 two years later. But this would be the first time hybrid vehicle owners would face such a fee. Under the bill, it would start at $87.50 a year in 2020 and rise to $112.50 the following year and $137.50 in 2022.
I have little sympathy for electric and hybrid car owners, insofar as they have spent extra money to purchase what is essentially a mechanism to virtue signal. There is no savings for the environment or for fuel in the long run; the cars are very dirty in terms of the manufacture of them, far more than an internal combustion engine. Those batteries are an environmental hazard of astonishing proportion! And of course the electricity has to be generated, and often it comes from coal-fired plants. There is no real environmental benefit from driving one of these little toy cars. And there are plenty of detriments - like their being dangerously light weight.

These are vehicles whose main purpose is to allow the "woke" yuppies who drive them to show off how wonderful they are.

Also, the argument made by the Republicans who are promoting this is that these vehicles cause as much damage to the roadways as do gasoline vehicles, but they don't have to pay the tax to enjoy the roads. This is a bit dubious, in my opinion, in that these cars are generally lighter than the gas guzzlers and cause less damage. Also, the owners pay through the nose in other ways, and the government gets it's ill-gotten gains.

While I enjoy a bit of Schadenfreude here, in the end I do not think Republicans should be promoting tax increases as a general principle, and I especially don't think that punishing people for their consumer choices is acceptable. Government is not supposed to be involved in the free market. This is picking winners and losers. That is not the American way.

Here we get to the nub of things:

Some members of the transportation committee also weren’t sold on the proposed fees. Sen. Joyce Waddell, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, questioned the size of the fees, which she said could discourage people from buying hybrid and electric vehicles.

"If we are in the process of trying to encourage more electric vehicles, it seems like that fee is a little bit more than it should be,” Waddell said.

End excerpt.

Which is precisely why the Republicans are pushing this big increase; they want to disincentivize this. It was Barack Obama who insisted on the promotion of hybrids and electric cars, and his bailout of the auto industry was predicated on the car companies building and promoting these clown cars. The car companies knew their customers didn't want them but went ahead with them anyway, because the government was telling them to do so.

Even left wing Politico admits electric and hybrid cars are bad for the environment and fail at their stated mission.

From the aarticle by Jonathan Lesser:

I used the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s most recent long-term forecasts for the number of new electric vehicles through 2050, estimated how much electricity they’d use, and then figured out how much pollution that electricity would generate, looking at three key pollutants regulated under the U.S. Clean Air Act—sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), and particulates—as well as CO2 emissions. I compared them to the emissions of new gasoline-powered vehicles, using the EIA’s "real world” miles-per-gallon forecast, rather than the higher CAFE standard values.

What I found is that widespread adoption of electric vehicles nationwide will likely increase air pollution compared with new internal combustion vehicles. You read that right: more electric cars and trucks will mean more pollution.

[...

]As for greenhouse-gas emissions, my analysis shows that electric vehicles will reduce them compared to new internal combustion vehicles. But based on the EIA’s projection of the number of new electric vehicles, the net reduction in CO2 emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be only about one-half of one percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions. Such a small change will have no impact whatsoever on climate, and thus have no economic benefit.

End excerpt.

Lesser rightly points out that the extra demand for electricity will be subsidized by all electric consumers; the price of electricity rises as we employ more electric cars, and the poor have to pay more than their fair share for this. It's a regressive tax.

So the wealthy owners of these vehicles (and most are wealthy as these cars cost a bundle) should be glad to pay extra in fees. But I don't like Republicans increasing taxes at any time.

Rather, steps should be taken to get rid of the incentives to buy and keep these little toys.

The real purpose of the government promotion of these vehicles is not to protect the environment but to condition Americans to do with less. The Left has been motivated by Malthusian thinking ever since Malthus, and Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb back in the seventies, along with the Club of Rome and "limits to Growth" report are at the heart of most liberals thinking. They believe Americans live too well, and that must change. So they found ways to get Americans to voluntarily live with less, to accept a reducing standard of living. The endgame is public transportation and bicycles. I have often argued that part of the goal is to pen Americans in where they can be controlled. If you can't catch something you can't control it. That has always been the goal of the "intelligentsia", to impose a Plato's Republic type "philosopher junta" on us. We can't be allowed to wander around loose.

So by limiting our ability to move about via short-range electric cars and the like, we are fitted with the bit in the mouth and the saddle on the back. Future generations will think it the norm. In fact, few Millenials bother buying cars now, and that is a direct result of the efforts of the Progressives to push "sustainability" which is just euphemism for pulling on the reins.

Thomas Edison once told Henry Ford that electric cars were a terrible idea. I have to say I agree with him.

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