An Even Playing Field

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Electric cars aren’t just subsidized – they’re not taxed the same way that non-electric cars are.  Their fuel – electricity – is the obvious example. It appears to be inexpensive because it’s not saddled with the disproportionate and – to use the language of the progressive left – regressive taxes that are applied to motor fuels, gas and diesel.

These, currently, average about 50 cents of the cost to the purchaser of every gallon.

Given that motor fuels taxes – which are used to finance the building and repair of roads – are not going away – even if gas/diesel-powered cars do – it’s disingenuous if not delusional to not factor their cost into the price of electricity.

But this is not being done. In fact, the opposite. The true cost of electric car fuel – electricity – is being deliberately kept artificially low as a kind of magic trick, to gull the gullible into regarding the electric car as being almost free to operate, even if it is expensive to buy.

This is essential, of course, to the electric car’s acceptance by the public. The public must be bamboozled into buying the Free Lunch for this con to work.

The bill comes after lunch, of course.   

And it will be a bigger bill than their current gas bill – for several reasons.

The first reason is that in addition to the motor fuels taxes – which will have to be transferred onto the cost of kilowatt hours, unless by some miracle the government figures out a way to maintain and build new roads for free – there will be the additional cost of the new infrastructure needed to generate the electricity which will be needed by a putative fleet of electric cars drawing power from the grid.

A handful of electric cars – as at present – doesn’t register much in terms of the load on the grid. But if the electric car mavens see their desires realized and let’s say half or more of the cars on the road are electric, the current grid will not be able to meet the additional load. This is a physical fact, not anti-EV conjecture. On the East and West coasts especially, the current electrical generating capacity is already at or very near capacity. It is why there are brownouts and calls in summer for people to reduce their use of power-hungry machinery such as home air conditioners.

Electric car “fast” chargers draw a lot of power – 240 volts – the same as running your house AC or a laundry dryer or oven. Factor such a load times several hundred thousand electric cars, all fast-charging at once – throughout the day.

New generating capacity to meet this demand will not grow overnight like mushrooms after a rain. It will take billions in new infrastructure investment. Who will pay for this?

We will – and not just the electric car owners among us.

All our power bills will go up – as the massive cost will have to be distributed widely. There is a reason for the appearance of so-called “smart” meters – as well as “smart” appliances that tie into the grid. It is because the powers-that-be know perfectly well that if electric cars come online en masse, it will be necessary both to raise utility costs as well as ration the use of electricity.

Wait. See.

There’s another, related cost-adder that – for the sake of due diligence – ought to be factored in to this electric car thing. It is the cost of charging stations – as absolutely vital to the functional viability of electric cars as the current network of gas stations is to the viability of non-electric cars.

Charging stations – tens of thousands of them, nationwide – will have to be built, in order to make it feasible to drive an electric car as one is able to drive a non-electric car. That is, to be able to drive it pretty much anywhere without having to dread running out of fuel (charge) and not being able to refuel (or recharge).

It will be a job on the order of and of similar magnitude and expense as the building of the currently existing network of gas stations that dot the landscape, which have made non-electric cars the most convenient and economical way to get around. But those gas stations were built over decades, gradually increasing in number along with the number of cars on the roads.

Market demand determined the rate and pace of this development.

The difference now is that electric cars are being pushed by the government. Laws have been passed – and the supine, craven and desperate to play ball car manufacturers have “committed” in  lockstep to building great fleets of electric cars for which demand does not exist almost overnight. GM, Volvo, BMW – even Porsche – claim they will either entirely electrify or mostly electrify their lineup of cars  within ten years’ time. Which is not much time to erect a national network of charging stations to make these cars for which there is no significant market demand functionally viable in the same way that current, non-electric cars are.

Who will pay for all of this?

We will.

No one in a responsible position – car journalists are especially guilty – seems willing to let the car buying public in on these inconvenient truths. One wonders why. Are they simply dolts who believe in the Free Lunch? This seems unlikely given the lockstep uniformity of the car press. They can’t all be dolts who believe in the Free Lunch.        

So, what’s the deal? 

It is probably the same deal that operates whenever government and corporate interests become the domineering interests in a country: They play ball because it feathers their nests. 

Most of the press is owned by a few big corporations and these pay well – provided the line is toed and unmentionable things are not mentioned. There is – effectively – no independent media any longer. It’s why the debate – if that word can be used – is always pre-decided within certain parameters that must never be exceeded. 

Electric cars are The Future. Accept it.

It has been decided.

No matter what it ends up costing us.

Wait. See.

. .  .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Just one of the reasons for a per mile tax. I’d be fine with it if this zeroed out the taxes applied to fuel now -but, you all know as well as I do that once uncle introduces a tax, fee, levy, surcharge, whatever, it never goes away. Paying for what one actually uses/needs is so last century. This is a non starter because no one wants an honest accounting of what something actually costs in this debt fueled, banker driven economy. Make people with kids in public school pay for it themselves? Blasphemy – it’s for the children!!!

    Our modern “sharing” (aka steal,from everyone) economy demands everyone chip in. Ugh. I am so tired of the definitions of words changing to meet the psychopaths’ desires.

  2. Just got my DMV renewal for a car in 2018…the new “Weight Tax” has been applied…and it doubles the renewal cost. Theoretically it fixes the roads, but more likely it allows continued profligate spending by the legislature on stuff I don’t want, given to people not me…in other words, an increase in theft by taxation.

    I thought that they only taxed commercial vehicles for weight?

    • SISC, Is that weight the weight of the car or the weight of all the illegals calis hire to clean their dirty houses that the occupants are too lazy to clean?

    • Hi Torino –

      Indeed. If this were not the case – if electric cars were superior (functionally, economically) to gas/diesel cars – then people would just buy them. No mandates or subsidies would be needed.

      This is luminously obvious yet almost universally ignored.

  3. Hey, looks like I sparked a real “think tank” here. Now I have an even better idea, why don’t we just forget the whole notion of a an EV, and just make cars with IC engines only? Then we could have trunk and cargo space! Wait, that has a familiar ring to it, I know I’ve heard that concept being tried somewhere before…….

  4. Speaking of charging stations: As electrics become the norm [shudder], and charging stations will need to be as ubiquitous as gas stations, who is going to pay for the chargers and the real estate that they and the parking spaces needed for the charging cars occupy? -Especially in large cities where every square foot of space is at a premium….

    I mean, it’s not like a gas station, where they will be making money off of the cars- unless some sort of scheme is implemented to add a surcharge to the electricity- in which case, yet another “benefit” of EVs goes out the window- that of cheap fuel.

    The only other option left, is that taxpayers will be paying for these charging stations- to purchase, run and maintain them- which not only means yet higher taxes and being forced to pay for more shit which WE may not want nor use….but also gives Uncle yet MORE opportunity for surveillance and control- which is probably why EVs are being so vigorously pushed, despite their total impracticality and inability to deliver the benefits their advocates claim.

    • In Norway the electricity at the private charging station costs more than it costs to charge at home. Nothing wrong with that. Anyway, also the companies installing the charging stations, pay less for the electricity that the normal consumer.

      • Hi Jone,

        Motor fuels taxes are proportionately much higher than taxes imposed on electricity; also – In the U.S. – the “grid” – energy generating capacity – is barely adequate to meet existing demand.

        There is also no real infrastructure to support electric cars; it will have to be built.

        But the underlying question here is: Why go to all this trouble?

        There is no need.

        Gas/diesel cars are practical, economical – and low emissions.

        Electric cars are not practical, are far from economical – and their being “clean” is very questionable absent nuclear/hydro electric generating.

        • I’ll say it again…. the reason is electricity is far more easy to -ration-.
          The powers that be want to ration energy use. That’s one of the mechanisms of technocracy. An energy based currency/economy where each person has a certain energy ration.

          With limited generation capability there is a built in reason for them to ration once they cause the problem of a shortage with electric cars.

      • Trouble is, Jone: Here, in order to “sell” people on the idea of electric cars, electricity at charging stations is free or very cheap. Of course, that can not continue. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with charging more for electricity at a charging station, so that the cost of having those stations is borne by the users, when such becomes reality, it is going to be a shock to the naive owners of electric cars, who are used to free or very cheap electricity (And even with that free or cheap electricity, the EVs are by no means economical).

        And then, as Eric points out, when taxes are added to the cost of that electricity, so that EV users pay their fair share for road and infrastructure…..it becomes an even poorer deal.

        But, as usual, the typical stupid American doesn’t see any of this coming. They just flock to buy the latest and greatest thing, because the media touts it as being something great.

        • HMMM, Interesting points. Perhaps the goal is to have a Nationwide mileage tax presented as a fair use tax. Of course the Gas tax would still remain as well…..Just a thought as to motive here by the idiots in “charge”. LOL. Charging stations? Will kinda be a truth shortly…

          • Yep, KB. Such can only be the result when politics, propaganda, and stimuluses are being used to create an artificial market. If EVs were something which were coming about as a legitimate demand on a free market, and being supplied and supported by the free market, it would be quite different- but of course, that is not and could not be the case, because EVs do not make sense.

            So then we must ask: “Why are the powers that be pushing which doesn’t make sense?”- and as most of us here well know, it is because it is not about transportation or “the environment”; but rather about control, and expanding the collectivist realm.

        • Legislature in CA pretended the new “Road Weight” registration tax was to get EV owners to pay for road maintenance…but it obviously disproportionately hits IC vehicle owners…larger the vehicle, higher the “tax”…in the libertarian definition, BTW!

        • I don’t disagree with you. I am just saying that provided that there are electric cars on the roads, then private enterprise sees a business opportunity in offering charging stations, where electricity costs somewhat more than it does for an ordinary house.

          I have neither recommended nor advised against electric cars. I am merely stating that the charging stations do not need to be owned or subsidized by the state.

          • Hi Jone,

            We agree. The problem is that absent subsidies, charging stations – like EVs themselves – would largely cease to exist. Because there is no natural market for them; not enough of one, at any rate, to sustain them without subsidies.

            Which is why the government subsidizes both.

            EVs are being pushed on us.

            The question is – why?

    • I can see it now…..major convenience stores with charging stations….and rooms to rent by the hour with a large selection of lot lizards.

      • Agreed. The Volt, however, is PC and kosher to the greenie weenies. Strapping a generator from Harbor Freight to the top of a Nissan Leaf is not.

          • Funny how the reds…errr….greenies hate small IC engines when they’re in the hands of autonomous indiciduals…..but have no problem with the humongous engines which are used to generate electricity……

  5. Not to mention that Electricity is only 15% efficient. Maybe more now but not by much. In other words a grip of fuel is used in digging drilling and transporting the fuel to be burned to turn the turbines to generate the juice we get as end users.

    I’ll take a pass and stick with my gas eaters….

  6. The only kind of electric car that would make any sense would be one powered by some sort of compact fusion reactor running on distilled water.

    Other than that…

  7. You know, I’ll bet you could haul around a 1500 watt Generator that runs on gas, and keep it running to charge your EV while you drive on a long trip! If you have an EV Pickup, then you don’t even need to pull a trailer, just put a 30 Gallon fuel tank in the bed with the generator, crank it up, plug it in, and go! I wonder if your generator would be subject to a vehicle emissions test?

    • To run at anything close to modern transportation speeds that needs to be a 15 THOUSAND watt generator. Other than that, you’re right.

      • No problem, I’ll just sneak one out of an old EMD power truck when nobody’s looking, lol! Do you realize that most people have no idea what is in a “diesel” locomotive, or why it has been pretty much unchanged in form or function for over 70 years? The railroad has been using IC, Hybrids, and EVs for the last 75 years, and even though they have tried just about everything else, this is what has worked the best, the longest. And if anyone thinks the railroad loses money on freight operations, think again. The IC automobile may have killed passenger service, but the money was always in the freight business anyway. Automation of transportation? Again, the railroad has been working with that for over 50 years, and if people think it’s going to be easy and affordable, they need to talk to railroad companies. IC has proved unbeatable for convenience, reliability, versatility, and economy for nearly 100 years.
        If EV transport war even close, the railroads would have converted everything they have to electric lines by now. People have no clue how many thousands of tons per mile the diesel motor moves per hour, per gallon. All consumers know, or seem to be half-assed informed about, is their own little car. And even there, most of what they really know wouldn’t fill a thimble.

        • And when I bought my first truck in ’73 the RR’s got a billion in subsidy. I got a bill from the feds for Road Use Tax. It’s a lot easier when you have a lock on freight.

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