ICYMI: Barrasso Op-Ed: The GOP's All-of-The-Above Strategy Is Better for the Environment Than Biden's Dangerous Approach

August 9, 2023

By: U.S. Senator John Barrasso
August 8, 2023

The federal government shouldn't be in the business of picking winners and losers. The Biden administration ignores this principle by proposing rules that would effectively require all new cars to be electric by 2032.


The president is trying to force all American drivers to purchase expensive electric cars many don't need, don't want, and can't afford. He's committing hundreds of billions in taxpayer money on this single technology. He's also costing consumers their right to pick the vehicles they drive.


Biden could force taxpayers to fund nearly $400 billion in electric car subsidies, charging stations, batteries, and other handouts. That's more than double the combined market value of the Big Three U.S. automakers. It's a staggering cost to taxpayers to force hundreds of millions of Americans to get rid of cars and trucks they prefer.


The average electric car costs over $60,000—thousands more than a gasoline-powered vehicle. The steep price tag is a major reason dealers are sitting on a 92 day inventory of electric cars—almost twice that of conventional cars.


Despite enormous taxpayer subsidies, dealers are having a hard time moving costly electric vehicles off their lots. Even at these high prices, many manufacturers are losing money on every sale. These losses are forcing manufactures to cut investments in their core, and profitable, technologies such as efficient internal combustion engines.


The batteries for electric cars require an extraordinary amount of specific minerals. Without a lot more mining in the U.S., the costs of these cars are unlikely to fall very far. One study determined that to replace all of the United Kingdom's nearly 32 million cars with electric vehicles would require more of certain specific minerals than are produced worldwide. Converting the entire U.S. fleet of 260 million cars would take about eight times more.


The U.S. currently depends on geopolitical rivals for many of these minerals. China and Russia play dominant roles in the lithium, copper, cobalt, nickel, and rare earths supply chains. President Biden's EV-only policy increases our dependence on these hostile countries.


The U.S. has many of those minerals, including in Wyoming. Unfortunately, the Biden administration opposes increased mining on federal lands. Earlier this year, for example, it killed Twin Metals Minnesota's bid to mine copper and nickel. Electric cars need both metals in large amounts.


EV-only also sabotages the president's own climate change emissions goals. Toyota reports that the material used to produce one long-range electric car could make 90 hybrid electric vehicles that don't require charging. That number of hybrids would reduce emissions significantly more than a single all-electric vehicle. Yet since these hybrids use gasoline, the administration doesn't support them.


Electric cars are also more expensive to insure and maintain, and they have lower trade-in value than conventional cars. And they may also not be suited to colder climates; cold weather reduces their battery range. Moreover, it's being reported that charging EVs under freezing conditions could cause a fire.


In my home state, farmers and ranchers count on vehicles that are affordable and reliable. In Wyoming, with our cold winters and vast distances, electric cars are neither.


We should make cars as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without driving up costs and denying families access to the vehicles they need. Electric cars are a reasonable choice for some people. They should not be America's only option.


President Biden's policy of forcing everyone into electric vehicles is irresponsible. It's bad for our families, bad for the environment, bad for American manufacturing, and bad for our national security.


Republicans' "all of the above" energy strategy is the right model to follow. Coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar—we need it all. All of this energy played a role in transforming the nation from energy dependence to energy independence while reducing emissions.


This nation needs a comparable "all of the above" vehicle strategy. Companies need to continue to invest and innovate across a variety of technologies. The government should be supporting their efforts—not hindering them. Efficient internal combustion engines, non-plugin hybrids, compressed natural gas, fuel cells, and batteries all should compete for their role in driving America's future.


John Barrasso is a Republican Senator from Wyoming. He is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.