The Battle Begins: Car Dealers Challenge Biden’s Electric Vehicle Mandate

A coalition of almost 4,000 auto dealers nationwide sent an open letter to President Biden, calling on him to “tap the brakes” on his administration’s aggressive electric vehicle (EV) push.

The coalition — which includes dealers located in all 50 states and who collectively sell every major car brand is taking aim at the Biden administration’s tailpipe emissions standards released earlier this year. These are the most aggressive federal regulations of their kind ever issued. Under the regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the majority of new vehicle purchases will be electric within a decade.

These dealers wrote in their letter to Biden on Tuesday, “These vehicles are ideal for many people, and we believe their appeal will grow over time… The reality, however, is that electric vehicle demand today is not keeping up with the large influx of BEVs (battery electric vehicles) arriving at our dealerships prompted by the current regulations. BEVs are stacking up on our lots.”

“Last year, there was a lot of hope and hype about EVs. Early adopters formed an initial line and were ready to buy these vehicles as soon as we had them to sell. But that enthusiasm has stalled. Today, the supply of unsold BEVs is surging, as they are not selling nearly as fast as they are arriving at our dealerships, even with deep price cuts, manufacturer incentives, and generous government incentives.”

It’s important to note that a few states like Illinois, California, and others, have run out of incentive funds to purchase electric vehicles.

They added that, while the goals of the EPA regulations are admirable, they are also “unrealistic based on current and forecasted customer demand.” The dealers further noted that the best indicator of customer demand in the auto marketplace is how EVs are stacking up in their lots.

Even used electric vehicle prices, are down almost 34%, according to iSee Cars.

The letter further noted that there are many issues facing the EV industry such as a lack of charging infrastructure, broken or non-functioning chargers, energy grid instability, and a lack of reliable mineral supplies vital for EV batteries.

Their letter stated: Mr. President, it is time to tap the brakes on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate. Allow time for the battery technology to advance. Allow time to make BEVs more affordable. Allow time to develop domestic sources for the minerals to make batteries.” “Allow time for the charging infrastructure to be built and prove reliable. And most of all, allow time for the American consumer to get comfortable with the technology and make the choice to buy an electric vehicle.”

The new tailpipe regulations according to the White House, mandate, 67% of new sedans, crossovers, SUVs and light truck purchases, up to 50% of bus and garbage truck purchases, 35% of short-haul freight tractor purchases, and 25% of long-haul freight tractor purchases could be electric by 2032.

Biden previously set a goal of ensuring 50% of car purchases are electric by 2030. The White House said the rules would provide a “clear pathway for a continued rise in EV sales.” This is unsustainable and impossible at this rate.

Tom Maoli from auto group Celebrity Motor Cars, a dealership group stated: “With the mandates they are putting in place, they are forcing the consumer to buy something that they don’t want. Consumers are not buying into the electric vehicle market right now because the infrastructure is not there, they’re concerned about the range and it’s 20 to 30% higher to buy the vehicle.” Plus the rapid increase in insurance rates and rising electric rates.

He continues, “Even with the incentives that the manufacturers are offering, and that the government is offering, consumers just don’t want to buy it. The president needs to back off on mandates and allow the river to take its course. EVs will survive, they’ll be a part of the marketplace. But they have to let the consumer decide which vehicle they want, how they’re going to get their families around, and where they’re going to spend their money.” 

Gas-powered cars represented 93% of all new car sales in 2022, according to a report from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. 

And EVs remain far more expensive and less efficient than alternatives. In addition, experts have warned that switching too quickly to EVs may present a national security risk given China’s dominance of the global EV industry. 

According to the International Energy Agency, China produces about 75% of all lithium-ion batteries, a key component of EVs, worldwide. The nation also boasts 70% of production capacity for cathodes and 85% for anodes, two key parts of such batteries.

In addition to cobalt, cadmium, mercury, and seven other earth minerals are mined to create a battery. 

There is more than 50% of lithium, cobalt, and graphite processing and refining capacity is located in China, and globally these mining companies are owned by China. Then there are these three critical minerals, in addition to copper and nickel, which are vital for EV batteries and other green energy technologies. Chinese investment firms have also been aggressive in purchasing stakes in African mines in recent years to ensure firm control over mineral production.

Dealers are taking a loss on vehicles that are sitting on their lots; car manufacturers are taking millions of dollars in losses, and all of this impacts the price of new vehicles, negatively impacts the economy, and consumers are interested in hybrids and other gasoline, powered vehicles to meet their needs. What do you think?

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