Whenever I turn on the news these days and people are taking about the price at the pump it is only a matter of time before the talking head who represents the conservative party mentions electric vehicles (EV). It seems that The Right has dusted off an old talking point – EVs are bad because they do not contribute to our nations taxes.
The argument is that EV drivers do not pay into gas taxes because EVs use no gas. Gas tax dollars go towards rebuilding high ways and bridges – at least they are supposed to. Highways and bridges are utilities that EV drivers use and thus The Right sees that EV drivers are not paying for those utilities – they are getting a free ride and that is not fair.
The last time I checked the current incarnation of the Republican Party was not big on fairness issues. The Republican Party has morphed into a very self centered, almost doomsday oriented group. Healthcare access for all Americans – Republicans say no. Lower interest rates for college loans so all Americans can get an education – Republicans say no. Increased taxes on almost anything – Republicans say no. Closures of corporate loopholes in the tax code – Republicans say no.
With a mindset like this you would think Republicans would be embracing EVs. Think about it, a car that lets drivers get away with paying fewer taxes by not paying the gas tax – yet still Republicans say no.
Instead of seeing driving an EV as a tax loophole or some type of shelter, Republicans label EV drivers as dirty hippies and freeloaders and liberal elites in Hollywood. Compound this attitude with accusations by Right Wing pundits such as driving EVs plays a factor in high gas prices and the current degradation of America’s highway and bridge infrastructure and EV might seem pretty scary. Oh, and let us not forget that President Obama supports EVs as well and that they are not made very well either!
EVs have nothing to do with high gas prices, nothing to do with bad roads and bridges, and nothing to do with the crumbling of the patriotic American foundation. The fact is big oil plays a major role in American politics, in both Liberal and Conservative camps, and EVs do stand to make an impact on their future profit margins. A good litmus test to see just how bought by big oil a person is, just count how long into a conversation about gas or oil prices it is before the person demonizes EVs or other alternative fuel vehicles.
However, the fact remains that even with the outlandish accusations coming from the right, the EV market has had a hard couple of months:
- Consumer Reports said that a Fisker Karma all-electric vehicle it bought for $107,850 died on a test track.
- Fisker, lost funding from the Department of Energy and operates out of an old out-of-state GM factory, recently named Tom LaSorda, former CEO at Chrysler Group, as its new CEO.
- A123 Systems lost $257.8 million in 2011, in large part because Fisker reduced its battery orders.
- Ener1, a maker of lithium-ion batteries, declared bankruptcy in January, along with Th!nk Global
- Bright Automotive, which hoped to sell hybrid plug-in delivery vans, said it is closing its doors in Anderson, Ind.
Couple these stumbles with slows sales in April amid soaring gas prices and a high sticker price for EVs at dealerships and the EV market is strained – more people need to embrace alternative fuels and more investors need to feed the alternative fuel market … maybe labeling EVs as tax loopholes is not a bad idea after all.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison