Is This A Winning Issue?

Andrew Yang is running for President in the Democrat primary. He is currently polling at about 3 percent. He has some interesting ideas on changing the American culture.

Hot Air posted an article today about some of those ideas.

The article reports:

MSNBC held their latest “climate crisis” event for 2020 Democratic hopefuls yesterday and when Andrew Yang took the stage he brought up one possibility that all the candidates should weigh in on. When asked by the host what the world would look like in 2050 after the everyone began dealing with climate change and carbon emissions, he suggested that the end of private car ownership was probably on the horizon.

…Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said the United States may have to eliminate private car ownership to combat climate change during MSNBC’s climate forum at Georgetown University Thursday morning.

He told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that “we might not own our own cars” by 2050 to wean the United States economy off of fossil fuels, describing private car ownership as “really inefficient and bad for the environment.” Privately owned cars would be replaced by a “constant roving fleet of electric cars.”

Somehow I don’t see this happening.

The article concludes:

There are two sides to this proposal, consisting of the practical and the political. Being as we are in the midst of a presidential race, the political may be more important in the short term. The fact is that the Democrats seem to keep coming up with ideas that may look good on paper at liberal cocktail parties but are not at all popular with the voters at large. Eliminating private car ownership is just such a proposal.

People love their cars. Nearly everyone realizes that they are expensive luxuries and account for too much pollution, but we still live in a car culture. It’s a status symbol and a totem of our freedom of movement. No matter how well-intentioned you may be, if you come along and say the government needs to take away all your cars, the public is going to be up on their hind legs. This is the way you lose elections.

On the practical side, I will grudgingly admit that Yang is probably at least partially correct about this. If he was saying there would be nothing but mass transit, that would be nuts. Mass transit simply isn’t practical for most of the country unless you live in a densely populated urban area. But he’s also picturing fleets of electric, driverless vehicles that anyone can summon when they need to go somewhere. Uber and Lyft are working on just such a plan right now and sooner or later it may become our new reality.

But having said that, electric vehicles still need to be powered. Until you answer the question of where you’re going to come up with all of the electricity needed to replace the power currently being generated by gasoline, you’re not going to be doing much for the climate. As I mentioned yesterday when talking about efforts in California to eliminate natural gas usage, the state derives roughly half of their electricity from natural gas plants. If all of the cars are suddenly running on electricity, they’re going to be burning a massively larger amount of natural gas to meet the demand.

Yet again, we’re seeing the Church of Climate Change forcing Democrats to toss out expensive, impractical ideas that most people will rebel against. And they can’t seem to help themselves.

There is a lot more to the relationship between Americans and their cars than transportation. Somehow I can’t see taking away our private cars as a winning idea. We also need to consider that American carbon emissions are only a part of the world’s carbon emissions. We are a small percentage of carbon pollution. Unless the countries that are not concerned about the environment cut their emissions, nothing we do will have much of an impact. Keep in mind that China and India, the world;s biggest polluters, we essentially exempt from the climate treaty for a number of years. Maybe the treaty wasn’t really about climate.

This Isn’t Good News For Those Pushing Electric Cars

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about emissions testing done on the Tesla Model 3.

The article reports:

A Tesla Model 3 is touted as a zero-emissions car by government regulators, but it actually results in more carbon dioxide than a comparable diesel-powered car, according to a recent study.

When the CO2 emissions from battery production is included, electric cars, like Teslas, are “in the best case, slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher,” reads a release from the German think tank IFO.

…Driving a Tesla Model 3 in Germany, for example, is responsible for 156 to 181 grams of CO2 per kilometer, compared to just 141 grams per kilometer for a diesel-powered Mercedes C220d — that includes emissions from producing diesel fuel.

IFO looked at electric car production in Germany, which is heavily reliant on coal power. Electric car emissions in other countries depend on their energy mix, but Germany is the world’s third-largest electric car maker.

…Federal subsidies for Teslas are set to be phased out since the company, founded by Elon Musk, hit the 200,000-vehicle production cap. However, Congress is debating whether or not to extend electric car subsidies.

It’s not just battery production, but charging vehicles that emit lots of CO2. Germany gets 35 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, so charging a Tesla in, say, Bavaria results in 83 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven.

The article concludes:

IFO isn’t the first research group to conclude electric cars might not reduce carbon dioxide emissions as promised.

A study released in 2018 also found driving electric cars might come with higher emissions than diesel vehicles, largely because of lithium-ion battery production.

Likewise, a Manhattan Institute study from 2018 also found putting more electric cars on the road would likely increase emissions compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.

We may eventually have a clean form of energy powering our cars. However, it is a pretty safe bet that the invention of that clean form of energy will come through the free market–not through government subsidies. Any time the government interferes in the free market, they slow down innovation. If the people who have the knowledge and curiosity to invent the next generation of cars are allowed to reap the rewards of their inventions, we will see those inventions. If the free market is allowed to flourish, innovation will follow.