Economics, Energy and the Environment

If at first you don’t succeed, double down on dumb!

Over at RealClear Markets, I point out that California is re-running their (failed!) electric-car mandate from the 1990s:

Once again, the regulators in California have decided to lead the nation in terms of vehicle emission standards, proposing to require that 15.4 percent of all vehicles sold by 2025 must be electric cars, plug-in hybrid cars, or (currently non-existent) fuel cell cars.

In case you’re wondering why this all sounds familiar, it’s because California is re-running the same delusional program that it ran in 1990 (Yes, 22 years ago) when “Specifically, the Air Resources Board (ARB) required that at least 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent of new car sales be zero-emitting by 1998, 2001 and 2003 respectively.”

As I explain, this didn’t work out so well the first time, despite subsidies transferring wealth from the less-well-off to the more well-off:

Malcolm Currie, former CEO of Hughes Aircraft Company, which created the EV-1 technologies (and where, amusingly enough, I did my doctoral internship while he was CEO), argued “In addition to encouraging the development of new technologies, the mandate … will have a significant impact on our economy and jobs in the years ahead … Project California anticipates that as many as 70,000 of these [new jobs] can be in EV-related industrial clusters, as a result of building on the large anchor market in our state.”

We know how that worked out: currently, 98 percent of advanced battery production is in Asia.

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