NEW YORKERS REJECT THE HIGH COST OF ZERO-EMISSIONS ELECTRIC VEHICLES
New York is one of nine states that requires automakers to sell zero-emissions electric cars and trucks. Now, the taskforce behind the “zero-emission vehicles action plan” is pushing harder for automakers to sell cars that New Yorkers have demonstrated they simply don’t want.
Gov. Cuomo should empower residents to make their own car-buying decisions rather than continuing to subsidize a failing mandate.
He signed onto an agreement in 2014 that requires car companies to either meet their annual ZEV sales quota or purchase costly credits to make up the difference. The mandate was touted as a way to require automakers to research, develop, and market electric vehicles (EVs). The hope was that EV car sales would increase and that the program would spark an economic boon for these states that would last for decades.
New Yorkers have shouldered the development of costly zero-emissions electric cars with little-to-no return on investment because electric cars aren’t selling to the degree that action plan taskforce members thought they would. That’s due, in part, to the high price tag and concerns over limited range and battery life.
And in May, Gov. Cuomo announced plans to dump up to $250 million more tax-payer dollars into the struggling program.
New York should learn from the lessons of other states and not repeat their mistakes.
For example, California spent $449 million on rebates, yet ZEVs only account for 1.2 percent of cars on the road. And in Oregon, only 2.2 percent of new cars sold in 2017 were zero-emissions vehicles. In Rhode Island, it was less than 1 percent.
Massachusetts and Maryland also offered significant rebates on top of federal subsidies, but ZEV purchases only account for about 1 percent of the car sales in each state.
These poor sales are hurting U.S. automakers. In 2015, the 10 ZEV states represented 28 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales. By 2025, automakers will be on the hook to make sure that ZEV purchases in these 10 states exceed 15 percent of total car sales.
Requiring automakers to reach sales of 15 percent on electric cars will affect a large portion of the U.S. car market. But it doesn’t look like automakers are going to get close based on current demand. So what will happen? Automakers who fall short will have to either purchase credits from electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla or pay a $5,000 fine for each credit they’re short. Automakers are already purchasing these credits. But in the years to come, they’ll be forced to buy an increasing number. And that means passing the costs on to their customers. The end result: Automakers will be forced to charge more for conventional autos in order to buy more ZEV credits.
In the end, the majority of Americans are subsidizing the cost for a small few to buy Teslas and other EV brands. And car buyers have caught on and are not happy. In fact, 67 percent of people surveyed in a recent poll said they should not have to pay for others to buy electric vehicles. Eighty percent said they prefer to make their own decisions about the kinds of cars they want to drive.
And seven in 10 respondents (69 percent) feel consumers shouldn’t be forced to pay for charging stations.
People want to make the decisions relevant to their lives.
New Yorkers and Americans across the country are working hard to make ends meet. They have the right to choose how they spend their hard-earned money. And they’ve made it loud and clear that ZEV vehicles with limited real-world utility are not a priority.
Thomas J. Pyle is president of the American Energy Alliance