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The American government loves electric cars. President Obama dreams of having a million of them on our roads, and our government is actively promoting them. While picking winners and losers, the government has used taxpayer money to back quite a few losers over the years. They avoided supporting options like natural gas vehicles, supposedly in the interest of environmental friendliness, but it looks like that theory is shot.
As it happens, most studies which trumpeted the environmental friendliness of electric vehicles only took vehicle operation into account. It turns out that manufacturing and materials are a significant negative, environmentally speaking, and is a fact often overlooked in these studies. If one takes into account the life-span of the vehicle, electric vehicles are worse for the environment than those powered by gasoline. Anders Stromman, co-author of a study on this topic, stated that “electric vehicles consistently perform worse or on par with modern internal combustion engine vehicles, despite virtually zero direct emissions during operation.” A study from the University of Tennessee found the same.
Yet, despite this, the government really desires for us to own them. They provide up to $7,500 in tax credits for plug-in electric vehicles, and many states offer additional rebates or incentives as well. Some even offer credits towards the cost of a personal charging station. That’s ridiculous, as most vehicles can be charged at a regular old electrical outlet. That’s right, most cars don't need a special station, and the fact that there are more electric vehicle “charging stations” than people in the US makes incentivizing them even more egregious.
Recent studies also show that most electrical vehicle owners are affluent. The average annual income of a Chevy Volt owner is $170,000. Does it seems odd that the government would have to bribe affluent customers to buy the car they desire? It does to me, but nonetheless the red carpet is rolled out for these vehicles and prospective owners.
With all of the fiscal problems in this country, why is our government wasting money subsidizing environmental hypocrisy? Could it be because the companies building and marketing electric vehicles have spent a whole lot of money lobbying and buying influence in Washington DC? Of course it is.