“War” on Cars Is a War on the Poor

July 9, 2019

by Rob Roper

Anthony Roisman, chair of Vermont’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is making the media rounds pushing the idea that we need to move to “wartime footing” in an effort to reach the state’s goals for electric vehicles by 2025.

These goals are, of course, insanely absurd. They would require Vermont to have 50,000 to 60,000 electric vehicles on the road in less than six years. That’s means adding roughly 10,000 EVs a year. Now, keep in mind that cumulatively over all the years that EVs and hybrids have been a thing (the first Prius came out in 1997) Vermonters have registered less than 3000 EVs — total.

Why is this? Well, the short answer is Vermonters do not want these cars. At least not in the numbers our politicians would like us to want them.

A report to the legislature on “Promoting the Ownership and Use of Electric Vehicles in Vermont” cites the more detailed reasons, “The barriers identified include, but are not limited to, the price of new electric vehicles, the perceived limited distance that an EV can travel on a single charge, and the limited availability of public charging locations. Though not cited as often as these barriers, lack of vehicle choice….” In other words, they are too expensive, unreliable for long distances, inconvenient to operate, and functionally impractical. All good reasons not to waste your money on them.

Our politicians’ solution: force you to waste your money on them!

The recommendations in the report all come down to taxpayer funded subsidies of one kind or another – a $7500 federal subsidy, a $1500 subsidy through your electric utility, subsidies for charging stations, exemptions from the sales tax for EV buyers, etc. and so on…. So, the pitch from Honest Anthony the electric car salesman is, “How much of your money will it take to put your neighbor in this crappy car?” And he’s willing to go to war on your wallet to make it happen!

This is NOT the proper role of government.

Especially when you consider that this really amounts to a “war” on lower income Vermonters, who can’t afford even a subsidized EV even if they wanted one, to benefit higher income Vermonters who could probably afford and EV without the subsidy, if they wanted one. This is a policy that forces the single mom driving the used minivan to subsidize the money manager driving Tesla.

I guess our government hasn’t reached the outright dictatorial point where they feel comfortable forcing us to buy the kind of car they want us to drive (as opposed to what we’d choose for ourselves). But they have no problem forcing us to buy that car, through higher taxes and fees, for someone else. A distinction without much of a difference.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Irene Stewart July 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

Love this column. Agree with everything you wrote, and every point you made. It is laughable for someone to think that Vermonters will soon have 50 to 60,000 EV’s on the roads and hills here. Snow, ice, hills, muddy roads – how long would one charge last? You might get to work if a short distance, but doubtful you would return home.
Bet VPIRG will be very happy to TELL you what make, model EV car you MUST drive NOW in Vermont. Another joke – who listens to them anymore.


Bruce Hudson July 9, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Ok, so I want to travel to Florida for vacation. I would have to find every charging station between here and there in advance to plan the trip so I won’t get stranded. It will take me longer and cost more money for more hotel rooms along the way. What are these people thinking! This is proposal is just rediculus.


doug richmond July 15, 2019 at 3:29 pm

Who said that if there are 5 EV charge stations at your motel……….
…….. that any of the 5 will be available, or will cars be in line waiting.
No 3 day trips to FLA – 2 nights motel, maybe 6 days from daylight to sunset, with 3 hours nap in the middle.


Craig S Majoros July 12, 2019 at 9:18 pm

How long would an electric car last going up and down my road and worse yet my driveway, especially in the winter? Anthony Roisman doesn’t live in the real world. Time for the Greenies to wake up and time for the Greenies to be voted out and unappointed from commissions and non profits.. just sayin’


Phil Atwood July 12, 2019 at 11:09 pm

I have been reading about the Quantum Glass Battery. It may be marketing hype.
The claim: In an electric car 1000 miles per charge, full charge in 60 seconds, unlimited charges. If this is all true and the price is reasonable, this would be a game changer of enormous proportions!


Jim July 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Questions: Do non ev owners through taxes subsidize the cost of creating a sufficient number of charging stations thoughout the state to support this rediculous number of evs planned??? Can the grid provide the increased demand for electricity needed at these charging stations?? Will the rate payers be impacted by the increased need for electricity?? With all these pie in the sky dreams, one has to wonder if anyone has taken the time or effort to address the hard questions tendent to these unrealistic ev goals.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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