Greenfield: The End of Private Car Ownership

The term “pedestrian” has a derogatory meaning because peasants walked while nobles were “equestrians” and rode horses. The industrial revolution eliminated this class difference, as it did so many others, by making car ownership available to the masses until eventually Herbert Hoover was able to boast that “Republican prosperity has reduced and increased earning capacity” to “put the proverbial ‘chicken in every pot’ and a car in every backyard to boot.”

Democrats have spent two generations trying to get those cars out of every backyard.

Biden is trying to bring back Obama’s mileage standards that were estimated to raise car prices by 20%.The goal is to “nudge 40% of U.S. drivers into electric vehicles by decade’s end.”

Will 40% of Americans be able to afford electric cars that cost an average of $54,000 by 2030?

Not likely. Nor are they meant to. Biden’s radical ‘green’ government, which includes Tracy Stone-Manning, the former spokeswoman for an ecoterrorist group as the head of the Bureau of Land Management, isn’t looking to nudge drivers into another type of cars, but out of cars.

Gas prices are a way to price Americans out of car ownership under the guise of pushing EVs.

Biden’s Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm responded to American concerns about high gas prices by urging them to buy electric cars. Granholm, who had promoted a green energy tycoon who spent years in prison for fraud, who had served on the board of directors of an electric battery company, and made millions divesting stock in an electric vehicle manufacturer, is a fan.

“Most electric vehicles are now cheaper to own than gas-powered cars from the day you drive them off the lot,” Granholm tweeted.

That isn’t actually true, but actual cars have become more expensive to own, largely because of efforts by the Biden administration, and by various states, including California. That hasn’t however made electric cars any more affordable for ordinary Americans.

The average price of an electric car shot up to $54,000 in May. Car prices in general have risen in the Biden economy, but electric cars are naturally expensive. The raw material costs for an average electric car are up toover $8,000. That’s compared to $3,600 for an actual car.

When your raw material costs are that high, electric cars will be inherently unaffordable.

The Obama administration pumped billions in taxpayer money into battery and electric car manufacturing, the majority of which failed, on the theory that enough government subsidies would lower battery costs. Not only was much of that money lost, but currently electric battery costs hover around the $160 kilowatt-hour mark. Green boosters cheer that’s far down from over $1,000 per kWh a decade ago, but that still adds up to the reality that an electric car capable of traveling for even short distances needs a battery that alone costs thousands.

The Nissan Leaf, which approaches $30,000 once the reality of MSRP in the current sales market is taken into account, is one of the cheapest electric cars around, and has a range of only 149 miles. Replacing its battery can set back car owners $6,500 to $7,500. And that’s even when you can manage to find one or someone willing to replace it. In less than 3 years, Leafs lose 20 miles of range. By the fifth year, they have lost 30 miles. And it’s all downhill from there.

The Nissan Leaf was initially a hit, but car manufacturers quickly realized that anyone willing to overpay that much for substandard performance had money to burn. The electric car market is now thoroughly dominated by luxury vehicles subsidized by taxpayers. And the Leaf went from 90% market share to less than 10%. The EV market is now a taxpayer-funded status symbol.

The dirty truth about the “clean” car market is that it consists of traditional car companies and Tesla frantically trying to unload a limited share of luxury electric cars on wealthy customers to cash in on the emissions credits mandated by states like California. Tesla makes more moneyreselling these regulatory credits to actual car companies than it does selling cars. Taxpayers and working class car-owners pick up the bill for the entire luxury electric vehicle market.

A market that they are shut out from by design.

The “green” vision is not a world in which everyone has their own electric car. It’s one of collective transport, of buses, light rail, and car-pooling through shared rides and roving self-driving cars. The only vehicle the average consumer is supposed to own is a bicycle.

While the Biden administration is still pretending that it’s out to “encourage” electric car ownership by making actual cars too expensive for much of the country to afford, others are saying the quiet part out loud.

“Car-lovers will doubtless mourn the passing of machines that, in the 20th century, became icons of personal freedom. But this freedom is illusory,” an Economist article predicted.

“There will be fewer cars on the road—perhaps just 30% of the cars we have today,” the head of Google’s self-driving car project predicted.

“The days of the single occupancy car are numbered,” Brook Porter at G2 Venture Partners, a green energy investment firm, thundered in an article titled, The End of Cars in Cities.

Dan Ammann, the former president of GM, claimed that “the human-driven, gasoline-powered, single-passenger car” is the “fundamental problem” in a post titled, “We Need to Move Beyond the Car”. He has since gone to work for Exxon-Mobil.

Predictions are cheap, but car bans are expensive and all too real. The European Union voted to back a ban on the sale of non-electric cars by 2035. California is also pushing for a similar 2035 ban on the sale of new actual cars in the state. Officials noted that the ban would push more than half of mechanics out of work and leave much of the state unable to afford cars.

Canada has its own 2035 car ban. Last year, Governor Newsom and Governor Cuomo, along with 10 other governors, urged Biden to impose a 2035 car ban on all Americans.

Electric cars aren’t actually “cleaner”. The mining processes that produce “green” technologies are as dirty, if not dirtier, and trade dependence on oil for dependence on rare earth metals, and dependence on the Middle East for dependence on Communist China. The one thing that they decisively accomplish is to make it impossible for ordinary Americans to own cars.

And that is what environmentalists really want. But not just them.

The vision of a nation in which private car ownership is a luxury good, in which cars have been priced out of the reach of most people through environmental measures that concentrated on gas-powered vehicles, and then added more taxes and fines for the waste” and “inefficiency” of an individual owning a vehicle is not very far away.

The technocratic sales pitch is that ride-sharing and self-driving cars will make car ownership unnecessary. Why own a big clunky machine when you can own nothing and be happy?

The reality is that car ownership offers mobility and independence. That is exactly what the leftist radicals making social policy want to eliminate. Gas prices are not Putin’s price hike, they’re the green dream. And that dream isn’t to put you in a Nissan Leaf. It’s the Pol Pot dream of dismantling civilization and rolling back the industrial revolution.

Once the dark age norms of their dark enlightenment are restored, peasants will go back to being pedestrians and only the progressive philosopher kings will ride.

Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield is a blogger and columnist born in Israel and living in New York City. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a contributing editor at Family Security Matters. Daniel's original biweekly column appears at Front Page Magazine and his blog articles regularly appear at Family Security Matters, the Jewish Press, Times of Israel, Act for America and Right Side News, as well as daily at the Canada Free Press and a number of other outlets. He has a column titled Western Front at Israel National News and his op eds have also appeared in the New York Sun, the Jewish Press and at FOX Nation. Daniel was named one of the Jewish Press' Most Worthwhile Blogs from 2006-2011 and his writing has been cited by Rush Limbaugh, Melanie Philips, Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Judith Klinghoffer, John Podhoretz, Jeff Jacoby and Michelle Malkin, among others. Daniel's blog, http://sultanknish.blogspot.com, is a daily must-read.

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