The Coalition of Ratepayers agrees with the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) that the initial economic impact analysis of the proposed electric vehicle (EV) mandate for Colorado contained flawed and overlooked critical assumptions.
Dr. Winegarden, a Ph.D. economist with PRI, criticized the economic analysis, which was presented to the Air Quality Control Commission, with California’s vehicle emissions standards and their negative impact on the state in mind. His assessment added to, seconded, and solidified our own fears regarding Colorado’s adoption of an EV mandate. One of his points was that there may be other routes to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, since they’re already declining in Colorado as newer, cleaner vehicles continue to be bought and driven on our roads. Making one wonder: Is the mandate really necessary?
Moreover, according to Winegarden, forcing Coloradans to drive electric vehicles is more likely to cause a net increase in emitted GHG. The manufacturing of EVs generates more emissions than producing gas-powered cars, resulting in a deficit that takes time to overcome – in Germany, it’s as high as ten years. Making matters worse, a conservative estimate of an EV battery’s lifespan is approximately eight years. Hence, if we are to assume Germany’s timeline is correct, the break-even point is unlikely to be achieved, and the result will actually be a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Colorado’s power generation mix is still dominated by coal as well. Democrats hope to change that reality, but for the time being, EV owners are simply using what Democrats call “dirty coal” to charge their vehicles. Their tailpipes are simply outside of town.
Mandated switching to renewable energy sources will not be cheap either, and there is no guarantee it will be successful. Any attempt will impact low- and static-income ratepayers the most, and if the move towards renewables is unsuccessful, “the expected reduction in emissions will overstate the actual emissions reduction achieved.”
Electric vehicles also cost $7,000 more than gas-powered cars after calculating the down payment and loan repayment costs. Admittedly, they’re cheaper to operate annually by about $660, but EV owners, on average, need to own one for 11 years to make up the $7,000 difference. Considering batteries typically last eight years, saving money, or breaking even isn’t likely.
Before adopting an electric-vehicle mandate, Colorado’s elected and non-elected officials need to know that the initial economic impact analysis presented to the Air Quality Control Commission was faulty and failed to consider serious assumptions. Winegarden’s report gives a much clearer perspective on what will most likely be a costly and detrimental policy.
If he is correct, changing the minds of elected officials and AQCC members on the proposed EV mandate may be critical to lowering Colorado’s GHG emissions even further.
The information and data contained in this post can be foundin Dr. Winegarden’s Issue Brief. The link to which is below.
Pacific Research Institute, Issue Breif, CO ZEV Mandate Analysis