The case against tax-payer funded subsidies for electric cars

By Tom Quiner

DownloadedFileShould the federal government take your tax money and give it to someone else if they buy an electric car?

It is happening.

It is being done based on the assumption that global warming is real, man-made, and reversible through draconian green energy schemes.  Each is subject to debate within the scientific community, although each is accepted as an article of faith by liberals.

Liberals rail against crony capitalism (as they should) unless taxpayer money is going to green energy companies, such as Solyndra. Abound Solar. Beacon Power. Ener1. Energy Conversion Devices. Evergreen Solar, Inc. Mountain Plaza, Inc.Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsens Mills Acquisition Co. Range Fuels. Raser Technologies. Spectrawatt. Thompson River Power LLC. These are all “green energy” companies that took taxpayer money and filed for bankruptcy.

Now taxpayers are subsidizing electric cars up to $7500 per vehicle in the name of liberals’ green energy religion.

Setting religion, economics and crony capitalism aside, is this a good idea from an environmental perspective?  Not according to environmental activist, Bjorn Lomborg. Mr. Lomborg is director of the Copenhagen Consensus and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist.”

He is certainly no “global warming denier.” In fact, Mr. Lomborg does believe global warming is taking place. Even more, he does believe it is caused by man. But even more, he does not think it poses apocalyptic problems for mankind, and besides, the cost to reverse it is economically impractical.

All this leads to the electric car.  He says the electric car is bad for the environment.  You read that right.  A 2012 study about the environmental efficacy of the electric car appeared in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.  Writing in the Wall Street Journal, here is what the study revealed, says Lomborg:

“If a typical electric car is driven 50,000 miles over its lifetime, the huge initial emissions from its manufacture means the car will actually have put more carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere than a similar-size gasoline-powered car driven the same number of miles. Similarly, if the energy used to recharge the electric car comes mostly from coal-fired power plants, it will be responsible for the emission of almost 15 ounces of carbon-dioxide for every one of the 50,000 miles it is driven—three ounces more than a similar gas-powered car.”

In other words, with current technology, the electric car is worse for the environment than a vehicle fueled by gasoline.

If you are an environmental activist, it is imperative that you contact your Congressman today and demand that they stop subsidizing electric cars.


  1. Bob Vance on March 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    For the sake of your argument, you are attacking all “green” energy based on one piece that is faulty. I think “You need to break a few eggs to make an omelet” can be applied here. Software companies put out software knowing there will be problems that will need to be fixed. It costs money to fix these problems but it costs even more not to get the product out there in the hands of the consumers. Who better to beta test something than the end user.

    • quinersdiner on March 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      The green energy movement is based on science that is debatable at best, and a leap of faith at worst. Government policy should not be based on a quasi religion. If anyone should agree with that, it should be you. Beta testing should not be done at the taxpayer’s expense. That’s how I see it, Bob. Thanks for writing.

      • Bob Vance on March 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm

        Wind energy works. Solar energy works. It is just expensive here in the U.S. because there is not much of a demand for it.

        I would refer to NASA and the funding it received. Not only did we put a man on the moon, but we generated alot of “spin-off technologies”. NASA has over 6300 patents so far.

        I am not against the government spending money. I just think we need to get as much bang for our dollar as we can.

        • quinersdiner on March 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

          Wind energy may work, but it needs tax payer subsidies to compete with oil.

  2. Spy Garden on March 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Any kind (hybrid, electric, gas…) of NEW vehicle has plastic, metal, fabric, etc: many parts and things that must to be manufactured. Plastic and metal (and other car parts) are not made of sunshine and rainbows as the green movement would have you think. Based on the actual logic of conservation: if you have a 10 year old Ford Explorer why doesn’t the government reward you for NOT buying something new/creating more waste? Because they care about big “green” business NOT the environment. The government rewards (usually unnecessary) consumption of goods and services based on vague and often unfounded marketing claims (energy star! environmentally friendly! high efficiency!). If companies want to market something as “green” they should be free to do so (consumers fall for lots of idiotic marketing ploys) but the government should stay out of all of it (along with about 95% of everything else they’re meddling in/ruining)!

    • quinersdiner on March 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      Agreed. Thanks for writing.

  3. Spy Garden on March 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm This site has some pretty interesting arguments against wind power. And again, windmills are not made of sunshine and rainbows but must be manufactured with plastics/metals etc. Manufacturing the materials to build windmills and the maintenance of windmills uses lots of NON-WIND energy sources. I AM against the government spending my money (95% of the time). I think this is the fundamental difference in opinion here. I think NASA would have a lot more patents than a measly 6300 and probably have put a man on mars by now if the government wasn’t involved. I can get the most bang for my dollar and help the most people when I am spending it (and when businesses are spending based on supply/demand), not when the government is squandering it on things as stupid as: (for a non-related example): haha (good grief!)