I’m a Republican who supports environmental stewardship but Biden’s electric car obsession is not the answer

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Americans across the political spectrum recognize the benefits of fairness. We like to find a good deal, get the best bang for our buck, and be able to say the juice was worth the squeeze. 

Recently, we have been inundated with images like those of President Joe Biden grinning from ear to ear seated in an all-electric Cadillac Lyriq as the administration continued to tout electric vehicles (EVs) as the savior of the climate. However, it’s important to look past the politics to consider the facts and data surrounding EVs. In graduate school, my statistics instructor quipped, “Numbers and people are a lot alike. If you torture them enough, they’ll tell you anything you want to know.”  No need to torture here. By simply examining data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we can easily find the truth about the value of EVs.

As a licensed forester, I support environmental stewardship, reducing carbon emissions, and ensuring clean air and water. As a professional engineer, I’m fascinated by technology and support solutions that actually work. EVs are not the solution, and the numbers show the juice is not worth the squeeze.


If we could wave a magic wand and turn every U.S. passenger car into an EV, global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) would be reduced by a mere 0.9%. Try the math for yourself: 

The U.S. produces 15% of the world’s GHGs, transportation accounts for 27% of those emissions, and 57% of transportation emissions come from passenger cars and light duty trucks. That means if every car was an EV with batteries charged from a non-carbon emitting source, GHGs would be reduced by 2.3%. Only 39% of U.S electricity, however, comes from non-carbon emitting sources. Therefore, realistically, if every car in the U.S. was an EV, carbon in the world’s atmosphere would be reduced by less than 1%.


Why has California played along with the fantasy by outlawing the sale of gas-powered cars after 2035, then narrowly dodged rolling blackouts by telling residents to avoid charging their electric cars and using big appliances like washing machines during peak hours? 

California Governor Gavin Newsom condemned those who would fight against this absurdity as “doubling down on stupid.” It’s arguable that any reasonable individual who could do basic math would see it the other way around.

President Joe Biden speaks about electric vehicles during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(Associated Press)

Not only do Democrats want to ban gas powered cars, but they also actively work to cancel domestic mining of critical minerals that make electric cars possible. 

In March, President Biden cancelled the lease for the Minnesota Twin Metals mining company that would provide copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum needed for electronic products. Democrats know these minerals are vital, but they force us to rely on countries like China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo that use slave labor, child labor, and have few, if any, real environmental or labor laws.


Democrats are smothering American mining and energy companies in over regulation, driving prices through the roof to force a “green transition,” while simultaneously throttling American jobs with “not in my backyard” policies. 

The world is using more of every form of energy and we’re seeing  an insatiable global appetite for new energy.  New spending for EVs has already cost taxpayers $34 billion since President Biden took office, and that’s just a drop in the bucket of what this administration wants to spend going forward. At the same time, developing countries are building fossil fuel energy systems at a larger scale and pace than the U.S. can offset our emissions, much less theirs.

What’s more, Americans simply can’t afford this false transition. A new Census poll found that 26% of Americans were forced to choose between basic expenses like food and medicine to pay their energy bills, while one in six reported the inability to pay the full amount of their energy bills at least once in the past year. This is unacceptable when we can affordably meet our energy needs through this country’s vast natural resources.


We don’t have to choose between our economy and our environment. Innovation and improving efficiency in areas that work, such as nuclear, natural gas, and hydrogen, while focusing on large scale natural solutions such as forest management, tree planting, biochar, and precision agriculture will not only improve our domestic statistics, but will also provide affordable, reliable, and clean technologies for the developing world. 

To meet the world’s energy needs while being good environmental stewards, we must embrace an all-of-the-above energy approach coupled with robust research, development, and innovation. Putting all our eggs in the EV basket is nonsensical, wastes hard-earned taxpayer dollars, and is detrimental to our future. Democrat’s EV policy is not giving us the best bang for our buck.


Republican Bruce Westerman is a U.S. Congressman representing the Fourth District of Arkansas. He introduced this trio of bills to the House of Representatives on March 28, 2019.