Opportunities in the Failure of EV Mandates

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To the Editor:

Gov. Ned Lamont has withdrawn regulations that would have Connecticut follow California in eliminating sales of internal combustion engines in Connecticut by 2035.  This is welcome news on many levels.   Proponents have tried to argue for clean air, health conditions and more, but the fact is that top-down mandates, coupled with little down-stream planning can’t be relied upon to not have massive unplanned consequences.

This inability of our elected officials and unelected bureaucrats to dictate what, how and when citizens operate in a free market economy is a win for self-government and for choice.  

Commentary against passage has included EV costs; the lack of electrical infrastructure to support EV charging; and the burden to the lower socio-economic strata of our economy.  The assumption that zero emissions at the tailpipe equate to an improvement in air quality does not include consideration for the entire value chain.  With 1.1% of the country’s population at the receiving end of the prevailing westerly winds and with the other 95% of the industrialized world doing nothing – the measures to promote EVs have been nothing more than the industrial equivalent of virtue signaling.

Connecticut’s Assembly has the opportunity to do the hard work of recognizing that Connecticut is indeed a wonderful place to live, and that with a bit of strategic planning will recognize that following any other state is a fool’s errand – regardless of the goal or the imagined good to be accomplished.  

Connecticut’s industrial base was once the envy of the world, and could be again with a rational plan of bringing the costs of manufacturing and modern life, specifically electrical costs, in line with USA averages.  Rather than having the incessant, divisive and envy-creating conversations about how “the rich” and “corporations” don’t pay their fair share why not create baseline incentives that will be attractive to one and all, and in the process attract more innovators who want to locate in Connecticut with our geographically strategic location?   

However – and this is the point – in order to effect this vision, energy costs will have to be decreased. Perhaps it is possible to reduce costs and have clean air in the one manner that no one seems to be discussing.  Why not expand on our current nuclear generation capability?  Why not learn from the seventy years of experience with nuclear in the US Navy?  To the north, abundant hydro power exists.  One only has to observe the hydroponically grown produce sold in our grocery stores, sourced from Canada.  Those competitively priced vegetables are the result of inexpensive energy.

There are many opportunities in the failure of this most recent exercise in top-down mandates.  I urge our Assembly to explore these alternatives and develop a plan for these innovations – or, perhaps as importantly, simply get out of the way of market-based improvements.   

Robert Ham
Cheshire, CT