Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation, has been an outspoken supporter of electric vehicles (EVs), particularly since Congress enacted the recent infrastructure bill. However, there are three issues that the administration is still striving to tackle when it comes to the transition to electric vehicles. On Yahoo Finance Live, Secretary Buttigieg stated, “Look, it’s very apparent that the fate of the automotive industry is electric.”
The Biden leadership’s transportation initiatives will be guided by three major areas: climate goals, American industry, and equal access, he said.
1: Do electric vehicles assist the United States in achieving its climate goals?
“Does it happen quickly enough to accomplish our climate goals?” Buttigieg posed the first question about electric vehicle adoption. The Biden administration has prioritized climate change, particularly in light of the latest UN climate summit in Glasgow. President Biden has set a goal of halving US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels).
Electric vehicles are seen as one way to reduce America’s environmental impact, as they can assist draw down emission levels due to the high energy efficiency relative to the internal combustion engines. With transportation accounting for 29 percent of U.S. emissions, electric vehicles are seen as one way to reduce America’s carbon footprint. Electric automobiles will emit even less pollution as energy supply transitions to increase renewable sources.
In a handful of areas, the approximately $2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal invests in electric vehicles. It allots $7.5 billion for charging stations for electric vehicles and then another $7.5 billion for the clean buses (and ferries).
2: Are electric cars and their components manufactured in the United States?
Buttigieg addressed the second issue, which was about American manufacturing. “Does it happen as much as possible with American employees and American firms on American soil, creating as much chance as we can here at home?” Buttigieg remarked.
Legacy manufacturers such as General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) have recently increased their investment in electric vehicle production in the United States, vying against EV startups such as Tesla (TSLA) and Rivian Automotive (RIVN).
President Biden appeared at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit, which has been converted to all-electric car production, to support his EV plan, which promotes union-produced EVs made in the United States.
3: Do all Americans have access to electric vehicles?
Buttigieg then went on to answer the third question about electric vehicles: “Is it open to the public?”
“Now, if you consider about it, the Americans who expect to benefit the most by going electric and saving all that gas money are frequently low-income Americans who get a hard time putting together that sticker price for one of those electric cars that may save them much if they may afford it,” Buttigieg said.
Electric automobiles are $19,000 more expensive than gas cars to buy and drive off the lot. However, the lower fuel costs may offset the greater initial cost, especially since the cost of “filling up” with electricity can be as low as $2 per gallon at a period when gas prices are rising.