Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Time to Pull the Taxpayer Plug for Electric Cars

From my editorial in today's Detroit News:

The case for subsidizing electric cars was questionable from the start and is now a boondoggle.

Like many green initiatives promoted by the government and paid for by the American taxpayers, the electric car is more politically than performance or economically driven. Its subsidies and the government-imposed green energy mandates are contrary to the free market principles that undergird our economy.

What emerges most forcefully from experience with the electric car is that subsidies are a waste of taxpayer money. Although the government has provided plenty of help for electric vehicles, there remain major barriers in technology, cost and performance.

As battery technology improves and charging stations proliferate, we will eventually move to an electric-car future.

But the outcome of EV development needs to be like that of the internal combustion engines: the government doesn't have to subsidize regular cars because long ago, it became worthwhile for companies to do it themselves with rebates, discount pricing, and other promotions.

Private businesses will fund new technologies when there is a reasonable chance of commercial success. The private sector is entirely capable of developing EVs and other new automotive technologies without the need for subsidies.

When a new technology is economically viable, then government support is not needed. But if a technology isn't capable of surviving on its own, there's no amount of taxpayer support that will make it so.

It's time to pull the plug on politically motivated taxpayer subsidies for electric cars and see if they can survive on their own in the marketplace.

19 Comments:

At 1/19/2012 10:11 AM, Blogger FactsAreFriendly said...

And don't forget the taxpayer subsidized windmills. According to Matt Ridley, author of "The Rational Optimist", windmills require huge concrete footings and they produce less electricity per ton of concrete than hydroelectric dams.

Not to mention that they kill millions of birds each year, particularly eagles and other raptors, and bats.

Does anyone know how much the taxpayer subsidies are for these monsters?

Dwight Oglesby

 
At 1/19/2012 11:39 AM, Blogger rjs said...

these too:

- A bill to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for the top five oil companies that operate in the United States will likely fail next week, the chair of the Senate's Energy Committee said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/13/us-bigoil-taxbreaks-bingaman-idUSTRE74C6O920110513

 
At 1/19/2012 11:41 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Well fAf the taxpayer subsidizes all the venture socialism pushed by this clown's administration...

 
At 1/19/2012 11:43 AM, Blogger juandos said...

" bill to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for the top five oil companies that operate in the United States will likely fail next week..."...

And the downside is what rjs?

 
At 1/19/2012 11:45 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

rjs-

that's a very misleading article.

take a look at the XOM 10k.

you'll see that they are perhaps the most heavily taxed company in the us. they wind up paying somehting like 70% or operating income in tax.

the "tax break" discussed is not an oil industry tax break. it's one available to any company that uses LIFO inventory accounting.

they are not eliminating a tax break, but rather, seeking to prevent oil companies from using an accounting method available to any company.

 
At 1/19/2012 11:49 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

http://www.api.org/policy/tax/upload/Oil-Gas-Tax-Treatments-Not-Subsidies_April2011.pdf

you should read this.

i do not think you will be able to find any specific tax breaks for the oil industry.

the "tax breaks" that the media loves to howl about are just the same accounting treatment any us company gets.

 
At 1/19/2012 1:31 PM, Blogger NormanB said...

Electric cars, ie batteries, require a physics and chemistry solution not an engineering solution. The latter is doable, the former can take hundreds of years. Therefore, subsidising anything but basic research is a fool's mission.

 
At 1/19/2012 2:02 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> The case for subsidizing electric cars was questionable from the start and is now a boondoggle.

Then clearly, using the Wool & Mohair Price Support model, they should be continued forever.

 
At 1/19/2012 2:03 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

rjs doesn't care about steeeking FACTS!

C'mon, this stuff has been covered before, and he's ignored it assiduously. Ya can't do that by accident.

 
At 1/19/2012 2:06 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> Therefore, subsidising anything but basic research is a fool's mission.

Well, then, it's **prime territory** for Greens, Libtards, and Democrats, innit?

 
At 1/19/2012 5:32 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

People who buy electric cars create more waste than people who buy gasoline cars.

They buy a $40,000 electric car that costs $60,000 to produce (from regulations and subsidies).

And it's not even worth $40,000, except they believe it helps the environment.

The waste they create is paid for by less government services and/or more taxes, fees, fines, fares, tolls, etc.

 
At 1/19/2012 7:11 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

not covered so far... if electricity for EVs comes from coal plants - there is no reduced pollution benefit either - you're just trading ICE pollution for power plant pollution.

however, moving urban centers and beltways pollution from cars to rural power plants is considered by some to be a good trade.

 
At 1/20/2012 12:07 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

America's competitors will not stop in their efforts.

 
At 1/20/2012 12:29 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Subsidies, I would argue, actual retard development by steering money and research in directions not determined by the market or science, but by politics.

 
At 1/20/2012 1:04 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> in directions not determined by the market or science, but by politics.


Or, more importantly and even less correctly, by cronyism.

 
At 1/20/2012 5:30 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Zachriel says: "America's competitors will not stop in their efforts."

Let them pay a fortune to make the best electric car in the world.

While the U.S. creates several new products worth much more.

 
At 1/20/2012 5:46 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Let them pay a fortune to make the best electric car in the world."

maybe. If they subsidize it like I suspect the Prius and Leaf are... then what?

 
At 1/20/2012 6:08 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Larry, then, by allocating resources efficiently, the U.S. may build a better gasoline car than the best electric car, and also invent new drugs, software, aircraft, etc. with the money left over.

 
At 1/20/2012 7:25 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

@peak - all things being equal and they never are...of course

some countries have been accused of "subsidizing" and "dumping" while others say that by having less regs and lower labor they can make the same product for far less.

Would you think it possible for foreign countries to move ahead with EVs and import them here to sell at lower prices than the US companies can make them for?

 

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