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Manhattan Institute

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New Report: The High Cost of Electric Vehicles

press release

New Report: The High Cost of Electric Vehicles

May 15, 2018

New report suggests that “zero-emissions vehicle” (ZEV) technologies, especially battery-powered electric vehicles, will increase costs as well as air pollution compared with new internal combustion vehicles.

NEW YORK, NY (5/15/18) – Is the internal combustion engine dead? It soon will be, according to advocates for “zero-emissions vehicle” (ZEV) technologies, especially battery-powered electric vehicles. They claim that ZEVs will offer superior performance, lower cost, and, most importantly, “emissions-free” driving.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is, according to a new report published by the Manhattan Institute. Dr. Jonathan Lesser, the author of “Short Circuit: The High Cost of Electric Vehicles,” argues that critics of the internal combustion engine fail to consider just how clean and efficient new cars are.

Using a recent forecast prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, his analysis shows that, over the period 2018 – 2050, the electric generating plants that will charge new EVs will emit more air pollution than the same number of new internal combustion engines, even accounting for air pollution from oil refineries that manufacture gasoline. As for the greenhouse gas reductions promised by EV advocates, Lesser’s analysis finds that the reduction will be less than one percent of all energy-related U.S. emissions over that same time period, and will have no impact on climate whatsoever.

The report’s findings include:

  • Between 2018 and 2050, generating the electricity for battery powered vehicles will emit an additional 300,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 50,000 tons of NOx, and 75,000 tons of particulates compared with the same number of new internal combustion engines. Subsidies for the 5 million ZEVs and 250,000 public charging stations mandated by California Governor Brown will likely cost California taxpayers and ratepayers $100 billion.
  • EV subsidies benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. A nationwide survey of EV owners in 2017 found that 56% had household incomes of at least $100,000 and 17% had household incomes of at least $200,000. In 2016. median household income for the US as a whole was less than $58,000.
  • Subsidies for behind-the-meter residential solar electric generation, which also tends to be installed by wealthier consumers, exacerbate these inequalities by forcing lower-income consumers to pay for additional electric infrastructure and back-up generation.

Click here to read the full report.

Contact

Brian Stewart
Director of Media Relations
(646) 839-3313
bstewart@manhattan-institute.org

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