Opinion | Too slow! Too fast! Biden is initiating the transition to electric cars.

It’s quite rare for an editorial to produce results almost immediately after it’s written, but the editorial The Post published on March 17: “Mr. Biden should be pushing plug-in hybrids, not just electric cars” – is one such unicorn. The editorial states that the Environmental Protection Agency’s new vehicle standards should have “a short transition phase” to allow sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Good news! The EPA standards announced Wednesday will take effect in 2027 and have a term of six years. They require a gradual reduction in CO2 pollution from cars, SUVs and pickups. By 2032 – after a ‘transition phase’ – the average vehicle sold by a car manufacturer will have to be 50 percent less polluting compared to 2027.

Certainly, the EPA and many third-party analysts predict that automakers will achieve this goal by selling many more all-electric vehicles. After all, a recent report from Atlas Public Policy shows that the total cost of buying and owning the five most popular petrol cars in the country is now more expensive than buying their electric equivalents. That’s because sticker prices for these electric cars are falling and fuel and maintenance costs are so much lower. Electric car sales are growing explosively – and are expected to continue to grow.

But EPA standards do not require an automaker to use a particular technology. If an automaker can achieve this reduction in pollution with a combination of plug-in hybrid and cleaner gasoline engines, then they can do something about it. What is important is reducing pollution; given the climate crisis we can all see, there should be no return to that.

Lucas Tonachel, White Plains, NY

The author is a senior transportation strategist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Delaying the transition to electric vehicles would be a disservice to American consumers, public health and the climate.

The Post’s March 17 editorial claims that President Biden’s EV goals are “unrealistic” and that he should embrace plug-in hybrids as an “alternative electrification path.” But that pessimistic assessment ignores the facts: Americans bought a record 1.2 million electric vehicles in 2023. Electric cars represented 5.9 percent of the car market in 2022, 7.6 percent in 2023 and should reach 10 percent of car sales this year, according to some analysts. year. All the more reason not to take the breaks.

The editorial board also fell victim to an illusion created by car manufacturers such as Toyota and General Motors, who relentlessly lobby against electric vehicles. In 2024, a plug-in hybrid car is simply not a groundbreaking clean technology. As a recent article in the Post acknowledged, “some studies show that drivers use their plug-in hybrids like regular hybrids and almost never charge them.” This negates the health or climate benefits of connecting.

Instead of insisting on the status quo, automakers should prioritize the production of affordable electric vehicles. A 2023 Washington Post-University of Maryland poll shows that the cost of electric cars is a major barrier for American adults.

The editorial claims that accelerating the shift to electric vehicles would “create a backlash against the Biden administration’s entire climate change strategy.” This advice did not recognize the urgent need for climate action. The transportation sector is the largest U.S. source of greenhouse gas emissions, and plug-in hybrid vehicles still run on gas. The best path forward is for manufacturers to accelerate the transition to fully electric vehicles.

Katherine García, Washington

The author is director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All Campaign.

I’m baffled that it took The Post so long to reach the obvious conclusion outlined in the March 17 editorial about plug-in hybrid cars. Economics and foreign policy have suggested for years that the Biden administration’s electric vehicle policy was social engineering at worst and seriously flawed on every possible dimension.

It has never made geopolitical sense to increase our dependence on a supply chain dominated by China, which accounts for 80 percent of the world’s supply of battery cells and nearly 60 percent of electric vehicle batteries. And despite the best intentions, given the complexity of these products, that fact isn’t something that can be waved away in the coming years, regardless of any magical domestic content requirements.

Economically, the policy also doesn’t make sense, as some electric cars have higher sticker prices before rebates and such cars are more expensive to insure. The use of a cost-benefit analysis might have led the editorial board to this conclusion earlier. And it could raise future questions: How much will the Biden administration cost in subsidies for every ton of carbon dioxide not emitted? And is that affordable and worth it?

I have owned a plug-in hybrid SUV since September 2020. I wanted to make a few comments for other potential owners after what I learned from driving it 60,000 miles.

  1. The higher purchase price (versus the ‘regular’ hybrid model) was largely offset by a $7,500 federal tax credit. Depending on certain details of the purchase, existing federal purchase and lease tax credits may apply to new and used plug-in hybrids. Certain state and utility incentives might as well apply.
  2. Where possible, use cheap electricity instead of gas. My car’s electric range of 40 to 50 miles can easily be topped up overnight at home using Level I power. Public or office level I and level II charging is also usually cheap and often free.
  3. My vehicle runs on gasoline outside the DMV area and averages 38 miles per gallon in hybrid mode. That’s much better for my wallet and the environment than the 22 miles per gallon I averaged with my previous combustion-only SUV. All told, I average 900 miles between fill-ups.

Neither fully electric vehicles nor fully petrol vehicles meet everyone’s needs and desires. The Biden administration can and should stimulate, not fight, consumer demand.

Douglas Greenhaus, Arlington

As the editors wrote on March 17, plug-in hybrids will undoubtedly help tackle climate change. However, the world’s leading climatologists argue that we must act quickly and do everything possible to urgently tackle our greatest challenge. Miles per gallon for hybrids average around 40 or higher, while EVs typically go for more than twice as much, which equates to an equivalent of more than 100 miles per gallon.

Our reasonably priced Tesla Model Y is fully charged in about 30 minutes, and with enough super chargers we can easily travel long distances from our home in Delaware, whether to Boston or Siesta Key, Florida, without worry. Let’s embrace renewables, conserve, recycle, adjust our thermostats, walk or bike, drive hybrids and electric cars, and do all we can to tackle the one thing that, more than any other, is shaping the contours of the 21st century.

Peter Kleppinger McLean, Lewes, Del.

Finding ways to make progress on good climate legislation is important for our well-being and to ensure we leave a livable planet for our grandchildren. It’s also essential to make some compromises along the way to keep the momentum moving in the right direction. That’s why I’m glad to see the Biden administration updating its proposal on global warming and the transition to electric cars.

While I would have liked to see faster EV timelines, if the estimates are correct, the amount of CO2 reduction, the particulate matter reduction, and the reduction in premature deaths are still very significant. Perhaps the timeline will be met sooner with all the stimulus and public charging infrastructure work that will be accomplished because of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Whatever the case, we need our elected officials to continue finding ways to pass more legislation that addresses climate-related issues. The negative effects on our society are too great to ignore. Climate-induced and exacerbated storms are costly in terms of property damage, economic disruptions and lives lost. Appropriate legislation by our elected officials is essential.

Jonathan Licht, Laguna Niguel, California.

The March 21 front-page article “US sets strict limits on gasoline cars” illustrated how challenging it can be to summarize a complex problem in a short headline.

There is much debate among various interest groups as to whether these rules go too far or not far enough in addressing this important problem. The headlines have swung from one side of the debate to the other. The subheading on page 1 (“Emissions rules aim to accelerate the transition to electric cars”) is directly contradicted by the headline on page 9 (“In a nod to unions, EPA gives automakers more time for electric cars”). Both statements cannot be true.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *