Posted January 28, 2021
By Jim Amrhein
Car Wars: Return of the Shanghai
I have a very bad feeling about this.
Luke Skywalker, when he first sees
the Death Star in Star Wars (1977)As you probably know, I love cars.And normally, this time of year is when I indulge a lot of my four-wheeled fantasies. Thats because a number of big car shows come to my neck of the woods every year in January and February most notably the Philadelphia International Auto Show. But this year, because of the virus, thats been pushed to June. I give it no better than 50/50 odds of happening then, either.Thats too bad, because I was really hoping to get a look at the new Ford Bronco series in the sheet metal. I also wanted to take a low pass over the new-generation Land Rover Defender. So cool. One of those passed me on the road the other day and I almost ended up in a ditch from gawking at it.Im veering off track, though as usual, when cars are the subject.Last year, I wrote about automobiles a number of times, and a common thread in several of those pieces was electric vehicles (EVs). I wont rehash them at length here, but just to very quickly recapIf you want to know the four reasons why U.S. EV sales continue to lag way behind China, Europe, and all those wishful green projections, read my May 14, 2020 article, Car Wars: The Spark Plug Strikes Back.If you want to see the hard-numbers proof that replacing Americas 273 million light-duty ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles with EVs would only cut global atmospheric CO2 by 1%-1.5%, read my Aug. 8, 2020 article, ICE, ICE, Baby.If you want to know what the United States should do to achieve meaningful CO2 emissions reductions instead of forcing EVs on the reluctant masses read my Aug. 15, 2020 article, Peak ICE is Still Ahead of Us.But just to be clear: Reading those articles is not a prerequisite for understanding todays piece. Because really, they all sort of dovetail into the same point
Whats subtly driving the American EV market is a kind of tyrannyI think we can take it as a given that automakers probably wouldnt have innovated so much in the name of efficiency or the environment without government forcing them to do it in one way or another with laws, regulations, subsidies, tax credits, whatever. Theres a long history of this sort of thing in the U.S., and its not all badCatalytic converters and other equipment keep harmful toxins out of our air and water. So far, theyve prevented nearly 50 billion tons of the stuff from entering our atmosphere. In fact, a single car built in the 1960s before any sort of emissions-control systems were mandated by government belches out as much pollution as 100 cars produced today.Fuel economy standards have helped to reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil. And even though it actually decreases efficiency, arguably creates more GHG from a full cycle standpoint, and is definitely worse for many engines, ethanol-blend gas has its upsides, too. It also reduces our foreign oil dependency, plus it gives American farmers a gigantic shot in the arm and provides jobs in rural communities.So for the record: Im not arguing against government regulation and influence on the auto industry across the board. Historically, much of it has been beneficial. But Obamas push to incentivize EV adoption in the U.S. on a four-year hiatus under Trump is now about to take a turn for the tyrannical under Biden, in my opinion.And I think thats going to hurt America in a myriad of ways. Aside from the higher taxes thatll inevitably come with EV infrastructure build-out and subsidization, my main concerns revolve around the loss of American jobs, economic clout and self-sufficiency, along with increasing our dependency on China and OPEC.The job losses have already begun, in shocking fashion. Major media sources are reporting that Bidens unilateral cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline has erased as many as 11,000 good-paying American jobs with the stroke of a penBut that estimate may actually be miles too low. An Obama-era State Department study concluded that Keystone would support over 45,000 jobs, and over $2 billion in wages. With Bidens reckless new decree, thats a whole lot of families who will no longer be able to afford the overpriced EVs Washingtons going to force on them.On the flipside, though, Bidens scuttling of the pipeline did come with the fringe benefit of giving a $30 billion gut punch (Alberta premier Jason Kenneys words) to Canada our #1 energy trading partner, and our #2 trade partner overall.So now, instead of intensifying our relationship with a major resource player that could help America lessen its dependency on foreign oil even further, were playing right into OPECs and the PRCs hands. OPEC will sell more oil to the United States. Canada will no doubt end up selling more oil to China. Russia, Venezuela, and other players will see their share of the world oil market increase, tooAnd Chinas overwhelming dominance of the global EV battery market will only get bigger as Washington erects more and more obstacles to ICE vehicles here under the Stars and Stripes.With every passing day of the Biden presidency, it increasingly appears as though his far-from-moderate green agenda was much more than just campaign rhetoric to lock up the left-wing fringe vote. I think Joes convinced or has been convinced that hes on a crusade for his political legacy with this issue.The bottom line is that its irrelevant whether Biden actually believes the stuff hes shoveling, or hes just too weak to resist the radical elements of his party that are pressuring him toward sweeping changes in the name of global warming.Either way, the typically Republican firewall against radical green insanity has disintegrated and now the American auto consumer is going to get shanghaied onto the EV scam-wagon whether they like it or not.
Darth Crusader cranks up the electric tractor-beamThe Keystone pipeline: Axed.The Paris climate shakedown: Back on.New oil and gas drilling on public lands: Nixed.A not-yet-named Ministry of Environmental Justice agency: On the way.Untold billions for EV infrastructure and other green boondoggles: In the works.Fracking: In the crosshairs, for sureHigher gasoline taxes are surely coming, too. Plus a whole passel of new laws and rules and regulations thatll make cars more expensive and less capable. And all for virtually no real benefit to the global atmosphere.Again, using Washingtons own numbers, the replacement of all light-duty ICEVs in America with EVs would only reduce atmospheric Co2 by around 1%-1.5% in the best possible long-term scenario.This stuff is what I mean when I call the top-down EV movement in America a kind of tyranny and when I say the American people are getting shanghaied. Its because were slowly being forced to go along with something thats really not in the nations interest (or the planets), even thought thats how its being sold to us.It would be one thing if everybody wanted the transition to EVs to happenOr even just most people. Thats how democracy works.But as Ive said before, the simple fact is that Americans do not seem to want electric vehicles, by and large. You can plainly see that in the numbers. U.S. EV sales all makes and models combined totaled up to a whopping 328,000 units in 2020. That was around 2.2% of all domestic vehicle sales for the year.Think about that: After more than a decade on the market, with all the incentives, all the breathless hype from manufacturers (who are being forced to produce electrics to meet government-imposed mileage standards), and with at least 15 different models for sale in the U.S. last yearAll the American car-buying public could manage was 328,000 EV units?Cmon, man! as our new president might say.And if you remove fashion statement Tesla from the equation, Americas EV sales numbers are downright pathetic. Nearly 80% of the all-electric passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2020 carried Musks vehicular nameplate.For some perspective, Ford sold Americans over 787,000 F-150 pickups last year.So why are EVs such a hard sell on Main Street, USA? Because America is not Europe, or China, or anyplace else. What we want is not the same as what they want. What we need is not the same as what they needBut most importantly, what our government allows us to have (at least for now) is not the same as what their governments allow them to have. In America, because we have the freedom to choose ICE cars and trucks, we do, overwhelmingly.Its also because Americans arent stupid.Even if average folks dont know the exact numbers (like I do), they know their cars and trucks are nowhere near as harmful to the planet as Chinas industrial pollution and coal-fired power plants. Or as harmful as our own antiquated power grid. Or as harmful as Greta Thunberg, Leo DiCaprio, and the Democrats say they are.These are the reasons why a recent report from one auto industry intelligence firm estimated that 95% of vehicles on the road in America would still be powered by internal combustion engines in 2035And why another automotive think tank projects that EVs will only command 4.9% of the U.S. car market by 2025And why a large-scale survey cited in a recent issue of Car and Driver revealed that no more than 5% of American drivers would even consider an EV.Given all this, the trillion-dollar question is: Why are Darth Crusader and his Green Stormtroopers trying to MAKE us drive vehicles that are more expensive, arent as capable, and barely help the planet at all?Answer: Because at its core, green tyranny doesnt exist to help save the Earth. It exists to help convert the liberty, security and money of everyday Americans like you and me into left-wing political power and votes.Its like that scene in Star Wars were in a tractor beam being pulled inexorably toward an insidious made-in-China political machine with the ability to destroy entire American industries and huge swaths of freedom with blasts of money, propaganda, coercion and regulation from its giant electric tyranny cannon.Joe Biden and the Democrats have pledged to make America zero emissions by 2050, and proposed making all new vehicles sold in this country electric by around 2035. And given the paltry sales numbers EVs have posted in their first decade-plus on the U.S. market, thats going to take a lot of Imperial muscle to pull offBut judging by the rate at which Biden is signing climate-related Executive Orders these days, that Green Death Star is suddenly getting closer at an exponential rate.To quote just about every major character in the Star Wars cinematic universeIve got a bad feeling about this.Apprehensively Yours,Jim Amrhein
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & GunpowderWhiskeyAndGunpowderFeedback@StPaulResearch.com
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