From THE DETROIT NEWS
IT LIKELY was a slip of the tongue when Joe Biden declared America would rid itself of fossil fuels by 2025 during Thursday’s presidential debate. But it was not far off the radical energy agenda Democrats hope to impose should they win total control of Washington.
For proof, take a look at the bill dropped this week by West Coast Democratic Congress members that would cut in half gasoline powered vehicle production by 2025, and ban it completely by 2035. That’s not quite as drastic a timeline as suggested by the former vice-president’s apparent gaffe, but it’s close.
And it’s equally an impossible deadline to meet. The self-described party of science is poor at math, engineering and technology.
Electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for just 5% of automobile sales last year. Total sales are falling annually rather than increasing.
To meet the proposed Democratic mandate, the automobile market would have to completely transform itself in less than a decade-and-a-half.
And not just in terms of consumer demand, which is showing no signs of warming to electric vehicles despite a fleet of new EV options to choose from.
The automobile industry would also have to drive down the cost of EVs and vastly improve their range, particularly for the commercial fleet.
In addition, the nation would need a network of public charging stations and charging time would have to be reduced from hours to minutes to make the vehicles practical for all users.
Increased demand for electric power would work against the net zero carbon emissions goal.
“Today, oil, natural gas and coal provide 80% of our electricity production,” U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told The Detroit News. “If we’re going to move away from fossil fuels, we better figure out what we’re going to replace them with. While windmills and solar are important components, they aren’t going to be able to provide the amount of electricity we’d need if we made the full-on transition to EVs.”
Brouillette also cautioned that an all electric fleet would require a massive investment in upgrading and expanding the power grid, a process currently being slowed by lawsuits from environmental activists.
The zero emissions mandate works against the more practical solution of powering the future fleet with gasoline/electric hybrids that don’t require new infrastructure.
Despite the obstacles, the auto industry is pushing full speed ahead to eventually make the transition.
Ford is spending $11 billion over the next two years on EV development; General Motors has committed $20 billion over five years, and Fiat Chrysler is investing $10.5 billion on electrification through 2022.
Those tremendous investments should lead to vehicles that customers want to buy and that are supported by technology that makes them practical.
But they are more likely to arrive in a matter of decades, rather than a few years. Fortunately, in the meantime gas and oil are cheap and plentiful in America, and continue to be the major engine of economic growth.
Market forces are a better driver of change than fantastical mandates from politicians who have no clue about what it takes to build and sustain an industrial economy.