Biden’s electric vehicle plan is a road to nowhere

By Steve Milloy

President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal calls for spending $174 billion for a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations. Does this make sense?

In 2020, only about 296,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States, about 2% of the new car market. After all the electric vehicle hype, climate alarm, and generous taxpayer subsidies ($7,500 per car) of the past 30 years, there are now only about 1.7 million electric vehicles out of a total of about 290 million total vehicles on U.S. roads.

In other words, Biden wants to spend more than $100,000 per car for a national charging network. Sure, the $100,000-per-car figure will come down in the future as more electric vehicles sell. But even if there were 10 times as many electric vehicles on the road, that would still be an outrageous spend rate of more than $10,000 per electric vehicle just to make charging more available.

With the average cost of an electric vehicle in the U.S. at $55,000 compared to the average price of a conventional car at $36,000, the prospect of an electric vehicle sales boom that could justify a $174 billion taxpayer-funded charging network seems unlikely. If electric vehicles have such a bright future, why not just allow consumers and private enterprise to develop the charging network at a pace that satisfies demand and makes economic sense?

It’s not like electric vehicles are all of a sudden, or even ever, going to change the climate.

Sure electric vehicles have no emissions while being driven, but their battery manufacture is so emissions-intensive that, for example, a Volkswagen e-Golf must be driven about 75,000 miles before it reaches the point of emitting less than the diesel version of the same car.

And even if an electric vehicle is driven to the point where it emits less than a gasoline-powered car, the impact on climate is negligible. The U.S. is only responsible for about 15% of global emissions, and vehicles in the U.S. are only responsible for about one-fifth of that.

So if every single vehicle in the U.S. were an electric vehicle, and every electric vehicle had already been driven beyond the point where it realizes emissions reductions below the equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle, that would at best reduce global emissions by a mere 3%. And that’s assuming that the electricity used to charge all these hundreds of millions of new electric vehicles is 100% carbon-free. A 3% reduction in emissions won’t change the climate or weather in any discernible way.

Finally, let’s consider the national security aspects of large-scale electric vehicle reliance.

Electric vehicle batteries rely on cobalt, 90% of which is processed in China. Of the large-scale electric vehicle battery manufacturing facilities currently being built in the world, 75% are in China and only 6% are in the U.S. The reason for this is simple: China’s lax environmental policies and low-wage or slave labor. Without China, electric vehicles would be even more costly than they already are.

China’s main goal is to be the lone global superpower by 2049. Would China like to make the U.S. transportation system depend on China? You bet.

But the Biden administration is blind to this reality. Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan told the Wall Street Journal that the infrastructure package is “central to our national security strategy.”

So the plan is to squander $174 billion on electric vehicle charging while accomplishing nothing on climate change and making us even more dependent on China. If that is “central to our national security strategy,” we just might need a new one.

Steve Milloy publishes, served on the Trump-Pence Environmental Protection Agency transition team, and is the author of Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA.

This article appeared on the Washington Examiner website at