National Review talks to Myron Ebell about the possible threat of an electric vehicle mandate.
“This idea that the government knows better what vehicles buyers should have is really a threat to people’s freedom,” says Myron Ebell, the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who managed President Trump’s EPA transition team.
“The problem with greenhouse-gas emissions standards is that once you set off down that path, there is no end to it,” says Ebell. “The Paris climate treaty requires every five years a new commitment — eliminating coal and natural gas now won’t be enough. In terms of destroying the economy and limiting human freedom, this is the greatest threat the world faces.”
CEI’s Ebell doesn’t think government social engineering will be any more successful in the 21st century than it was in the 20th. The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris accords, he says, was an important step.
“The big difference is that when we sign something like the Paris Climate Accords, [our courts] enforce it,” he says. “If it doesn’t work out with EVs, Germany is simply going to say they aren’t going to do it. There’s a big difference between China, France, and Germany saying they are going to do something and the U.S. doing something.”
The greater threat to U.S. automakers is California. Ebell says the Trump administration appears interested in easing federal mileage requirements to 35.7 miles per gallon by 2026 — down from the 46.6 mpg imposed by Obama’s EPA. But he thinks repealing a federal waiver that allows California to set its own mpg limits is where the Trump administration should be focused.
“Get rid of it, and we will be free of the tyranny that California is exercising over the rest of the country,” Ebell says. “If we let California dictate our auto policy, it will cause a huge car wreck.”