The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Dubious Green-Energy Policies in Biden’s Behemoth Infrastructure Bill

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure deal at the White House, June 24, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Democrats in Congress have just released a titanic infrastructure bill. The bill spans 2,700 pages and, if passed, will authorize about $1 trillion in spending. The massive spending package has been criticized by Republicans for being profligate while some left-wing Democrats have argued the bill doesn’t go far enough. A significant portion of the bill is concerned with climate change and gives subsidies for electric vehicles and charging stations. However, Congress should have concerns about whether this green-energy initiative will power America in the right direction.

A cursory look at the spending package put together by the Democrats reveals how far-reaching the plan is. The bill covers roads, ports, wildlife, research & technology, climate change, and diversity initiatives. One part of the text is dedicated to “limousine research,” which allocates funding for the creation of limo crashworthy standards. The Biden administration also dedicates Section 23007 of the bill to addressing the lack of women in the trucking workforce.

The initiatives for limos and female big-rig drivers are only minor parts of the legislation, though. Subtitle D of the bill is solely dedicated to climate change, and the administration has heavily marketed its goal to increase electric-car sales to 50 percent of all car sales by 2030. 

If that goal is to be reached, refueling stations will be needed across the country. This new infrastructure bill wants to make sure those stations become more ubiquitous. The proposal allocates nearly a billion dollars every year until 2026 to establish charging stations in urban and rural areas across the nation. 

The idea is that the U.S. can reduce carbon emissions by moving to electric vehicles. While incentivizing electric cars and their requisite charging stations may sound like a good way to reduce emissions, congressmen should be wary that they don’t accidentally increase our carbon footprint. The problem is that “clean” cars are only as clean as the carbon emissions produced by the local power plant. Thus, if the source of our energy grid creates more carbon than gasoline, a move towards electric vehicles would actually worsen carbon emissions. 

Fortunately, natural gas emits less carbon than gasoline and about 40 percent of our energy grid is powered by natural gas. However, nearly 30 percent of all total energy in the U.S. is consumed transporting goods. Currently, cars, trucks, and 18-wheelers use petroleum products, and switching to electric power would assuredly strain our electrical grid. Given that coal is an incredibly inexpensive store of energy, we should be careful that coal doesn’t become necessary to keep up with increased demand.

Even if we aren’t forced to more heavily rely on coal (which seems unlikely), a blanket plan to phase out gasoline across the entire nation is still asinine. There are numerous coal-reliant states, particularly in the Midwest, which should reject electric cars for the foreseeable future. West Virginia relies on coal for 93 percent of its electricity. Moving away from petroleum-powered vehicles would immediately result in a carbon emissions spike. 

Part of the Biden administration’s plan to overhaul our infrastructure system is to incentivize replacing gasoline vehicles with electric ones. It’s a noble goal, and we should take intelligent steps to reduce emissions. However, replacing gasoline-powered cars indiscriminately is dubious, and it is an especially bad idea in coal-dominant areas. Fighting climate change by enacting economically inefficient and environmentally unsound policies doesn’t help anyone.


The Latest

Fire Public Broadcasting

Fire Public Broadcasting

NPR and PBS routinely present woke opinion as fact, and broadcast views that are anathema to at least half the country. Time to yank their taxpayer dollars.